MBOE HC Recap: Where’s your one second?

Students in Fisher’s Master of Business Operational Excellence Healthcare cohort spent four days last week at the Thedacare Healthcare System in Appleton, Wis., as part of the year-long program. Senior lecturer Mrinalini Gadkari was on the scene for daily recaps.

Ever think about how much time you spend, and often waste, in meetings? Let’s do the math: Let’s assume you’re in one hour-long meeting in an eight-hour workday. Five meetings a week, 20 meetings a month, 240 meetings/hours a year. That’s the equivalent of 30 workdays.

"Time is a valuable commodity, and one easily wasted, in many organizations."

I got to thinking of this as lean consultant Tracey Richardson discussed the importance of even a wasted second while teaching our MBOE students the A3 problem-solving method. When Richardson started working at Toyota Motor Corp., one of her trainers translated the cost of one second lost to the company. Saving one second per plant worker, she said, was the equivalent of adding eight more cars per shift! One second to Richardson meant job security.

“I started looking for seconds everywhere,” she said, urging students to look at their own processes. Seconds might not make sense but probably hours or days or weeks or months would. Any unit of time could be translated into a dollar amount or, in health care, someone’s life.

Back to that one-hour-meeting calculation: With that much time invested, you’re pulling away key people in meetings that go on for years without achieving much. How does that translate into dollars or productivity?

How about going to the gemba instead? How about huddling with your team for a few minutes in a day and tackling real problems?

Mrinalini Gadkari

Mrinalini Gadkari is a senior lecturer in The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business with over a decade of clinical and administrative experience in health care. A family physician by trade, she discovered her passion for hospital management while working in a hospital in India on quality and safety issues involving communication among doctors and nurses. Mrinalini came to the U.S. from India nine years ago and spent time at the John’s Hopkins Bayview Medical Center before a five-year stint at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute helping teams apply lean principles to improve efficiency and safety. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Nagpur University of India, where she received her medical doctorate. She also has a master’s in health services administration from George Washington University. Mrinalini enjoys chi running, yoga, hiking, writing, and singing Bollywood covers.

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