I was standing in my underwear answering questions about continuous improvement

Yes...you read that right, and no it wasn’t some horrible dream.  It was worse.  It was real life. 

I was really standing there…in my underwear. 

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Due to genetics and a childhood spent swimming in the pool sans sunscreen all summer long, I am the type that needs to visit the dermatologist regularly.  No I don’t have cancer, but I need to get checked regularly.  Honestly, everyone should get checked regularly.  Add it to your calendar…then come back to read the rest of the story.

So here is the situation I found myself in.  I was down to just my skivvies.  The doctor and the nurse were recording information in spots of interest.  The nurse was struggling with the device she was using to record the information. 

She had to ask the doctor to repeat herself.  The doctor would repeat herself but in a different order.  The nurse would have to jump back and forth in the program because the information was in a different order on her screen.

This process…in my appointment alone…took about 10 minutes longer than it should have.

I mentioned to her that a continuous improvement expert could help her IT team redesign the program so that it didn’t do that.  We had a brief discussion about what continuous improvement is and how I could help them. 

During the discussion I learned that the program they were using is used by hundreds of dermatologists’ offices across the country.  Now let’s multiply those 10-minutes by the number of patients seen by all of those doctors.  That is some monumental waste in the national cost of healthcare that could be eliminated very quickly! 

Let’s also not miss the extra lives that could be saved by getting more patients checked and the improvement we’d make for the employees (the doctor and the nurse) by implementing a minor change like this!

In the LEAN methodology we refer to this as the GEMBA walk.  It is normally performed fully clothed.  In simple terms it is a personal observation of work.  The word GEMBA is derived from the Japanese word gembutsu which means “real thing” or “real place.”  It is a surprisingly powerful tool…especially for people that are not accustomed to the broken processes that exist in every business.

This is how I know I am working in an area that I am passionate about.  How many people could talk about their work while standing in their underwear?  That is LITERALLY the stuff of nightmares for most people; yet I’d hardly noticed until I was reflecting on it today. 

I would love to speak with you, while fully dressed of course, about how to make your processes more efficient and effective for owners, employees, and customers.  Send me an e-mail at Attila@Dobai.com or visit Dobai.com to connect.