The lean community knows the best way to derail continuous improvement is to remove waste from a process and lay someone off. Unfortunately, this action is typical in industry and healthcare. It’s easy to lay people off and get short term financial gains. The long term consequences,however, are devastating.
Scripps and ThedaCare have had this philosophy for years. It’s allowed these organizations to develop a culture that is constantly focused on improvement and it has led to some pretty impressive results. At ThedaCare they have doubled cash on hand to 215 days equating to almost 400 million dollars. At Scripps they have had 60-75 million dollars of improvements year over year. At ThedaCare they have had zero medication reconciliation errors for 5 years in a row and customer satisfaction near 100% 5 out 5. ThedaCare employs the lean operating system and has for almost a decade.Lean has a basic tenet which is “respect for people”. The ultimate respect for people is to never lay them off. Great companies don’t.