2012 Lean Challenge 1!

How are you using your Lean knowledge to help others?

Outside of your daily lean duties in your job, how are you using Lean to improve your community?

Just after starting my blog I had a bad experience at a local hospital. I wrote to the Directors of the hospital not expecting a response. In that letter I offered to help them anyway I could in the Emergency Department (ED) to improve their process and patient flow. After my first meeting I was asked to join the Family and Patient Council.

The Family and Patient Council consists of volunteers that have been patients or had family members that were patients. Each member is assigned an area in the hospital to help improve. At first I was assigned the ED as my department to assist with improvements. During our monthly meeting in December I was introduced to the Quality Director. She had heard about my Lean experience and wanted to speak with me about possible improvements in the Lab and Pharmacy.

My assignment for the Family and Patient Council has now changed to Lean Hospital Improvements. I am still working with the ED since that was where I first felt a need for Lean.

At the first of the year I decided I wanted to come up with a challenge for the Lean community and readers of my blog. I hope each person can share a story about how they have helped their community with their Lean knowledge.

So here is the Challenge:

Look around your community and see where there is a need for improvement. It does not matter if it is a hospital, city, county, business, friend, family member,or if you speak at a local event or non-profit. The only rule is that you must volunteer your time. If it turns in to an opportunity to make money then you are not obligated to say no.(I am never going to say turn down income) If it does, you must find another way to share your knowledge.

The only thing I ask is you share your story here on Frontline Lean. You can email your story in whole or in parts as you go through the process of sharing your knowledge.

By emailing your story you agree to share it on www.frontlinelean.com. It will be posted for others to gain inspiration and knowledge. If there are any questions in regard to your story prior to posting I will contact you for needed information via email.

Send your story as an attached document (PDF, Word, or Pages format) to [Read more…]

It’s Mandatory ?

I work with a local hospital as a volunteer on the Family Patient Council. Each month we have a meeting to cover what each person has worked on in their assigned area. After we review the month with everyone we have a speaker that teaches us something about the hospital.

This month the speaker was from Staff Development. She took us to the Sim Lab to share some new devices they have to assist nurses with lifting patients. From both the patient and nurse’s stand point these were some amazing devices.

When you consider the group of hospitals (11 total) has over 5600 lost hours just from nurses with injuries related to lifting patients. That puts extra stress on the other nurses that have to step up in the absence of their coworker. This in turn causes more injuries since nurses are working shorthanded.

The Staff Development Manager (SDM) showed us, with the assistance of a fellow nurse as the patient, how each of the lift devices would work with just one person. During her display I had several questions about the use of the equipment.

FLL: What will the location be?
SDM: There is a designated area on each floor for each of the items.

FLL: How will you be sure the batteries are not dead?
SDM: Each shift will change out the batteries when they arrive. One battery will have a sun on it the other a moon for day and night shifts.

FLL: There are multiple sizes for the attachments.  How will they be stored?
SDM: Each size will have a holder in the storage area separating the sizes.

Let us skip a few other questions and get to the one that influenced this post.

FLL : How will you make sure each nurse uses the equipment when it is needed?

FLL: Mandatory? What if a nurse gets in a hurry and the lift is unavailable and she assists a patient without it?
SDM: It is MANDATORY. We have completed coach training with nurses assigned to the areas where each device will be located.

FLL: Mandatory? I don’t care for Mandatory. What will happen if they don’t use it?
SDM: Well we have made it a policy and it is Mandatory that each device is used.

Now the Staff Development Manager was as nice as she could be with me as I ask my questions. The conversation ended and we went on with the next device.

At the end of her presentation as everyone was leaving I stopped the Staff Development Manager to speak one on one.

I told her how I understood how “Mandatory” sounded good from both ends. The hospital does not want employees getting hurt and they don’t want to be short handed while the employee is off work or on limited duty.

I asked her to please take time with anyone that is caught not using the device to ask “WHY?” Find out the exact reason it was not used instead of holding the person responsible with a reprimand.

I think she was being nice and agreed with me. I got that gut feeling that it will not happen that way. My fear is that “Mandatory” will be the cause of setting an example of someone that could cost them their job..

Mandatory sounds like a threat to me. I have never liked the word and never will. Try words like essential or necessary. Those words to me don’t sound as harsh as mandatory.

Saying policy is like saying it is etched in stone to most people.

Just because something is “policy” does not mean it is locked in stone. Policies can be changed but some seem to forget that.

These are great people that want to do good not only for their patients but for their coworkers. I have the utmost respect for those that work in health care. I hope she takes my advice and finds out the reason the process is broken if someone is caught not using the lift assist devices.

Share your thoughts however, it’s not mandatory.

Learning To Lead: The Positive and Negative Inspirations.

Everyone finds inspiration from others as we develop our skills in the work place. It could be the ones that inspired us to be better, or those that inspired us to not be like them. Leaders help form us into who we are. Coaches, teachers, supervisors, managers, and parents, one piece at a time.  They help develop parts of us with each contact.

I have memories of those leaders that helped make me who I am today. There are to many to name, some standing out more in my mind than others. Those that I remember above all others developed my management skills to what they are today.

When I look back to my start in the wonderful world of employment my first boss comes to mind. I was working at a local grocery store and the store manager was the overpowering, screaming, demeaning, your always wrong, kind of boss. No matter what was done he was not happy with it and would voice his opinion in front of customers without pause.

I remember my first day on the job bagging groceries with no training other than “Make sure you ask Paper or Plastic”. I started the day doing what I thought was right, what I had seen others doing in my years of going to the grocery store with my mother. There were no complaints about my bagging that I know of on that very first day and others helped me when I got a little behind.

When the afternoon rush slowed, each person went off to do their normal assignments. One of the other baggers came over and told me to wait up front incase customers came in. No carts on the lot, all bags fully stocked at the check out, and no customers to be seen, the store manager stormed up blasting me for not facing the shelves. Trying to be the good employee, not understanding what facing was, I turned toward the aisles wondering what “Facing” was. I started to ask the store manager “What do you…..” before I was interrupted with “ What are you stupid get over there and face aisle 9!”  I had never been talked to like that and did not know what to do. Just then one of the cashiers grabbed me and took me to aisle 9 and explained “Facing”. The store manager watched me like a hawk for what seemed like hours. He soon lost interest in me to go yell at a fellow employee in produce who was not stacking the oranges correctly.

That one moment has stuck with me for over twenty years. I remember thinking that very moment, if I ever get into management there is no way I would treat my employees that way.

I was not only a new employee with no training but this was my first introduction to management at a real job. He continued to yell, scream, and talk bad about employees every time a customer had a complaint. Somehow he was promoted to a district manager position just a few months after I started in that store.

As confused as I was seeing someone with an attitude like his being promoted, it was calming when he walked out the door the last time.

The new store manager, the former assistant manager took over with a milder form of management. He yelled and screamed but not in front of customers.

Over the years I had different jobs with yelling and screaming bosses. I always found if you did your job to the best of your ability the less you got yelled at by a boss. I always did my best to go above and beyond what was expected.

Just a few years after that first day debacle I started working in a tire factory. The supervisor I had on night shift was a polar opposite of my first boss.

That supervisor, Ken, was not the norm in the factory. Ken was a rare individual in that environment and he caught flack from other supervisors and upper management for his style of supervising.

He had previously been over the training department and when that department was eliminated, he was almost laid off. When the announcement came that the department would be eliminated one person stood up for Ken and asked if he could put him in his department as a supervisor. That person was my father. He always told me he knew Ken had great leadership ability. He noticed how Ken worked with people to resolve problems and saw the need for that type of supervisor in the plant.

Ken worked for my father for years before I ever started in the factory. My father had no idea at the time that Ken would be the most positive inspiration on my management style.

The day I started working for Ken he impressed me. Like every new employee in the department he had me read through the training for my assigned job and walk the line with my trainer. He then walked the line with me explaining the basics of the job and the proper way to do the job to limit quality issues. As we walked Ken explained why each task was done and how it would affect the product if done wrong. When we finished walking the line together he took me back to the office to review what I had learned. That is when he asked me to see if there was a better way to perform the job. Thats when Ken said “ Since your new you might find a better way to do the job, feel free to let me know your ideas and we can try it out.”

I never had a supervisor:

  • Ask for my input on how to do a job or even a simple task.
  • Explain the How’s and Why’s of a job.
  • Care about improving a job or task.
  • Talk to me like I was an equal.

Even when there was an issue, Ken would come out on the line and explain the issue. He would not only explain it, he would ask if I thought there was a way to prevent it from happening again. He would never yell or scream over issues but, you felt as small as an ant because you let him down by having an issue. This only made you try harder to prevent future issues.

Working for Ken made an impression that has stuck with me.

Take time to reflect back on those that made impressions on who you are today.

  • Who made the biggest impression in a negative way?
  • Who made the biggest impression in a positive way?
  • Who is that one person that you try to emulate?
  • Who do you never want to be compared to?
  • How are you improving what you learned from them?
  • Have you made the same impression on others?


New Post coming soon!!! Happy New Year!!

I wanted to let everyone know I have not disappeared. With the Holidays and change in my position at work I got a little behind on posting. Bare with me and I will have more posts coming soon.

Currently, I am working with a local hospital during my free time. I am a member of the Patient / Family Council assigned to the ED. I am also working with the quality department to implement Lean in the Lab and am finding plenty to write about just working with the hospital. I also was promoted to Lean Coordinator at my plant and I am sure there will be plenty to post about with the changes going on there. So, keep an eye open for future posts regarding my Lean Learning journey.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and Holiday season and may 2012 bring you lots of new learning on your journey!!!

Happy New Year!!!!


Most people start their day the same way. Wake up, Shower, Eat breakfast, Cup of Coffee, get in the car, and get on the road. No matter what order we do these somehow we seem to find our way into a vehicle and make that dreaded commute to work. Some are lucky enough to have a short drive, while others have a long commute.

What do you do with your commute time? Talk on your cell phone, put on make up, text, eat, or pretend you’re in the Indy 500 racing around everyone.

Should you be doing something to increase your Lean knowledge?

I have spent the past 90 days catching up on one podcast and all 130 episodes during my 30 minute commute to work or as I like to call it “ my commuting college.”

Yes, 130 episodes in 90 days! One hour each day on Lean learning. Each of the podcast are less than 30 minutes and full of useful information.

What is this podcast you ask?

Lean Blog Podcast hosted by Mark Graban.

Yes, the same man that brings you leanblog.org and the author of Lean Hospitals hosts each podcast.

Mark’s Lean knowledge produces some great podcasts, he knows what questions to ask and adds his own experiences.

If you download all the past podcasts you can learn from a long list of guests including:

Stop wasting time during your commute and start utilizing it to learn.

So if you think you can’t afford to increase your lean knowledge, then your wrong. You can’t afford to not listen to these podcasts, the podcasts are free. The value is priceless!! Where else can you learn from the guru’s of Lean?
Hopefully Mark continues to produce this podcast and continues to share the knowledge of the best of the best in the Lean world.

So take the time to check out LeanBlog Podcast and turn your drive into a “commuting college.”

Now that I am caught up with LeanBlog Podcast. I have a few books on tape and other podcast to listen to. So my Commuting College continues each day!


Anthony Scott is a Front Line Supervisor at a manufacturing facility in Memphis, TN. His interest in Lean Manufacturing grew from working with a Toyota Supplier. He is on a Lean learning journey that you can follow at his blog Front Line Lean. Stop by and help him learn, find out where he is learning from or just say hi. Share his stories, reviews, and other post with your friends.

Lean In Mixed Martial Arts. The Foundation of Todays MMA Compared to Lean.

How can you compare two people fighting in an octagon to Lean?

It starts with the beginning of the MMA and its roots in Brazil. The MMA we know today started with Ultimate Fighter Championship 1. It was founded by the Gracie family, the founders of Gracie (Brazilian) Jiu-Jitsu. Gracie History tells us that Helio Gracie is the one that founded modern Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. (Go here for more Gracie Jiu-Jitsu History)

Helio Gracie according to the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy:

Helio Gracie

“At age fourteen, he moved in with his older brothers who lived and taught jiu-jitsu in a house in Botafogo, a borough of Rio de Janeiro. Following doctor’s recommendations, Helio would spend the next few years limited to only watching his brothers teach.”

He was only able to watch and observe what his brothers were teaching. So for years he was stuck in what we would call an “Ohno Circle”. He watched knowing that there were easier ways for him to do the moves his brothers were doing. He was able to see things others did not see.

“One day, when Helio was 16 years old, a student showed up for class when Carlos was not around. Helio, who had memorized all the techniques from watching his brothers teach, offered to start the class”

“Helio soon realized that due to his frail physique, most of the techniques he had learned from watching Carlos teach were particularly difficult for him to execute. Eager to make the techniques work for him, he began modifying them to accommodate his weak body. Emphasizing the use of leverage and timing over strength and speed, Helio modified virtually all of the techniques and, through trial and error, created Gracie/Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.” [Read more…]

Charity Auction at Leanblog.org supports Friends of the Orphans

Mark Graban of Lean Blog is hosting a Charity Auction to support Friends of the Orphans.

100% of the auction proceeds will be given directly to Friends of the Orphans, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports orphanages in Haiti and other countries. This charity was selected personally by Russell. This is Round 1 of the auction with a likely Round 2 to follow with more great Lean stuff.

There are plenty of items to bid on with bids starting as low as $4.99. Numerous books signed by the author’s, even an MP3 player with all the Leanblog.org Podcast loaded on it for you. Looking for a gift for that friend, family member, or co-worker here is your chance to help a wonderful organization and get that gift for them.

Below is a list directly from Leanblog.org of what is available.

Mark Graban:

Norman Bodek and PCS Press:

Naida Grunden:

Jamie Flinchbaugh and Lean Learning Center:

Karen Martin:

Jon Miller and Kaizen Institute:

Adam Zak:


Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits:

Pascal Dennis and Lean Pathways:

Productivity Press:

  • Bid – Lot of 3 copies of Cindy Jimmerson’s book Value Stream Mapping for Healthcare Made Easy
  • Bid – A bundle of all of these healthcare improvement books
    • The Physician Employment Contract Handbook by Maria K. Todd
    • Pursuing Excellence in Healthcare: Preserving America’s Academic Medical Centers by Arthur Feldman, MD
    • Applying Lean in Healthcare: A Collection of International Case Studies by Joe Aherne and John Whelton
    • Paradox and Imperatives in Healthcare:  How Efficiency, Effectiveness, and E-Transformation Can Conquer Waste and Optimize Quality by Jeffrey Bauer and Mark Hagland
    • Workplace Clinics and Employer Managed Healthcare: A Catalyst for Cost Savings and Improved Productivity by Michael LaPenn
    • The Definitive Guide to Emergency Department Operational Improvement: Employing Lean Principles with Current ED Best Practices to Create the “No Wait” Department by Jody Crane and Chuck Noon

5S Supply:

Bob Emiliani:

Paul Akers and FastCap:

Lean Enterprise Institute:

If you would like to donate items to be auctioned in a “Round 2,” contact Mark Graban or follow up from our existing email discussions.

Now Mark did not stop there with the auction he is giving those that can’t afford to help at this time the chance to win some prizes just for spreading the word. Read more below:


If you cannot afford to bid on items and would still like a chance to win a prize, you can share this contest via social media. Three (3) social media sharers will be selected, at random, to receive a prize of our choosing. Thanks for spreading the word about our fundraiser.

If you have donated and also share via social media, you will be entered into this pool of possible winners, as well.

  • To enter the giveaway, tweet the following exact message before 8 PM EDT on Sunday, October 30:
    • Bid on great #Lean books & items via @LeanBlog to support @FriendsUS charity & @Lean4Haiti Haiti relief – http://leanblog.org/HaitiAuction
  • We will search Twitter.com for tweets and retweets and randomly pick the winners from those who tweeted.
  • Make sure to follow @LeanBlog on Twitter so we can get in touch with you once the giveaway is over.
  • Alternatively, if you want to share this via Google+, be sure to tag Mark Graban in the post.
  • Also, if you write a post on your blog about these auctions, I will enter your name in the drawing. Leave a comment on this post pointing to yours.
These giveaway books, and possibly more, will be available for those who have shared the contest via social media (limited to U.S. and Canada only, except for the e-Book:


Also,  if you use any of the Amazon affiliate links on Leanblog.org , Mark will donate the  6% commission he would normally earn to Friends of the Orphans.

So I hope you take time to stop by, check out the auction and place a bid or ten.

To support Mark and his efforts I will also donate any earning from my Amazon Affiliate and Gracie Academy Affiliate (Gracie Bullyproof) Links on this site. If you have kids and want a good selfdefense that you can learn at home check out the Gracie Bullyproof. Don’t have kids and want to learn the best self defense out there follow same link and click on the Gracie University link or go into the store. Yes these are the Gracies that founded the UFC and what we call MMA.



IT’S ALL OR NOTHING! (comments welcome and wanted)

Yesterday I met with the Director of Emergency Services in regards to my previous post about my visit to the ED with my daughter.

I spent over two hours with her going over their current state and future state of their process. One thing stuck with me from the start of our walk through. We were in their new triage area that is almost complete. I asked what were some of the roadblocks that slow down their process currently. She gave one example that shocked me.:

When the NP or MD request a pregnancy test their current state is as follows: [Read more…]


Last weekend, we had to take my daughter to the ER for a severe ear infection. (After contacting her doctor he told us to take her to the ER.) During that 7-hour visit, I noticed many improvements that needed to be made. Below is a time line of events with some of the issue highlighted.
6:00 p.m. – sign in at the ER, fill out form with her information, allergies, medical history, reason for being there, no request for insurance information at that time.
6:50 p.m. – called up for triage check her vitals (temp, pulse, blood pressure, etc…) ask about allergies, medical history and what issue she is having.
7:05 p.m. – Sent back to waiting area.
8:45 p.m. – Nurse come out, walks around the waiting room, then goes back to entry door and calls our daughter’s name. Take her back to get her weight and ask about allergies, medical history and what issue she is having.
8:50 p.m. – Sent back to wait in the lobby.
11:45 p.m. – Nurse comes out again, walks around waiting room, goes back to the door and calls out our daughter’s name. We are taken back to a room where we are asked about allergies, medical history and what issue she is having. Nurse looks in her ears says, “wow, those are on fire.” Tells us Ryan the NP will be in shortly. [Read more…]

My Favorite Blog Post This Week!

Below are a few posts from other blogs worth reading, that I thought might help others. I have gained something from each of them. I will try to do this each week or multiple times a week.

My favorite post of the week: (In not particular order)

Curious Cat: Rude Behavior Costs Companies

Lean Blog: Infographic – Infographic –The Hazards of Hospitals Wow I don’t want to go to the Hospital except to help them on there needed lean journey.
Automation is Not Always the Answer, in Retail or Healthcare
Analogy from “The Lean Startup” for any Lean Journey?

Shmula: Restaurant Kaizen One of my favorite shows and yes I point out the Lean I see on the show to my wife. Which explains why it is not one of her favorite shows.
Taiichi Ohno on Lean Leadership Another book I am going to have to read.

[Read more…]