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A Little Bit of Lean Product and Process Development with Very Large Results

4/24/2019

A hospital I consulted with—but I did not contribute to the events described here—needed to solve a serious parking capacity issue that was a real barrier to their growth and development. They needed to build a new parking garage near the hospital. The hospital had a piece of land, zoning approvals, and a budget. It took patients and visitors 30 minutes to park. Staff was exhausted from having to bus to and from remote parking.

“So just build the dang thing,” was the overall sentiment.

Thank goodness the hospital’s lean leader, who had a vast lean manufacturing background, was aware that using pre-production planning could be very valuable with construction projects, and she was influential enough to make the case and get agreement.The facilitator for the five-day event had been exposed to the 3P (Production Preparation Process) approach for products and believed in the method enough to use it for this challenge.

So it began. This might sound like a bad joke, but the hospital asked an architect, a contractor, a designer, a facility manager, a construction site manager and others to spend five days in a small conference room to see how the land and money could be optimized. This approach was new to each of them. But they came. The facilitator for the five-day event had been exposed to the 3P (Production Preparation Process) approach for products and believed in the method enough to use it for this challenge.

Lean Development

After working in small teams with multiple iterations during the five days, the results were completely unexpected. The team, using the money and space allowed, had designed a facility that increased the number of possible parking spaces by 10% above benchmark and did it without using the ground floor!

Why did they not use the ground floor? Because someone knew that on an overall hospital wish list was a local trauma center. The area did not have one over a several mile radius and the neighborhood thought since they were a well-heeled university research hospital, they should build one and had been clamoring publicly for one. The hospital fully agreed, but they did not have any other land and were landlocked.

Today, they have a new street-level trauma center on their campus with a wonderful parking garage on top. A miracle for them and the neighborhood in which they reside thanks to some bold, out of the box planning and 3P!

I was part of this event only in that my lean leader friend let me sit in on the second day, and, then, informed me of the results as they went forward. When she told me the final outcome, I was totally blown away. I’m a true believer in lean principles and tools for every process, but so often have seen hesitation to really go for the best solution when it entailed dramatic change from a pre-conceived notion.

This is a wonderful example of what lean product and service design and process development promises to deliver. Lean Product and Process Development (LPPD) includes much more than 3P, but as seen here when just applying this one element of the overall LPPD toolset can result in sensational outcomes. To learn more about the overall value to be gained using LPPD, join us at the Designing the Future Summit 2019, June 27-28: https://www.lean.org/designfuture2019

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