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LEAN HEALTHCARE: Departmental Supply Ordering And Storage. How the Journey Started…. IRHA offered the opportunity for member hospitals to participate in Lean Training in the 2011 -2012 cycle. Woodlawn Hospital sent 5 people to Yellow Belt training, 1 person to Green Belt t raining

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Lean healthcare departmental supply ordering and storage

LEAN HEALTHCARE:Departmental Supply Ordering And Storage

How the journey started

How the Journey Started…

IRHA offered the opportunity for member hospitals to participate in Lean Training in the 2011 -2012 cycle.

Woodlawn Hospital sent

5 people to Yellow Belt training,

1 person to Green Belt training

1 person to Black Belt training

By the numbers
By The Numbers…

  • 20 critical access and rural hospitals from across the state participated in this project in its entirety

  • 3 Focused Project Areas:

    • Emergency Department Throughput (8 hospitals)

    • Transitions of Care (9 hospitals)

    • Readmissions (3 hospitals)

  • 7 different hospitals used as training locations

By the numbers1
By The Numbers…

  • 85 people attended a 1-day Executive Training Workshop

  • 53 people attended at least one of the pre-training webinars

  • 140 people attended the 4-day Yellow Belt Trainings

  • 41 people attended the 2-day Green Belt Trainings

  • 20 people attended the 1-day Black Belt Training

Lean certification project
Lean Certification Project

  • Woodlawn Hospital, Rochester

    ED Patient Throughput

    • Discharge Summary revision, testing, staff education completed. Staff pleased with the easier format and can more thoroughly document in the available text box.

    • ED Assessment forms have been shortened from 6 pages to 2-3 pages each

    • ED Log data entry by ED staff decreased by 100% due to new automated ad hoc reports

Moving forward

Moving Forward...

Woodlawn Hospital has made a conscious effort to continue using Lean methodologies and tools to make a difference in our hospital since the completion of the original ED project.

On board with lean

Presentation to Leadership Team

  • Administration support

  • Lean Project Request Form

    • Here to help

    • Departments invite Lean in

5s project pilot ob

Project Request: Supplies

  • Trouble getting supplies returned

    • Yellow sticker system

  • Issues with par levels

  • Supplies in multiple locations, some not near point of use

  • Special request items not included in sticker system that nursing staff has to track and order

First things first

  • Compile team

    • OB Manager, Materials Management Director, Materials clerk, OB nurses (as available during their shift)

  • Education of project team

    • Lean

    • Changes made with them, not to them

    • Quick Overview of 5 S for Nurses

Data collection

Voice of the Customer/Stakeholder (VOCS)

  • Interview those closest to the process

    • Nursing staff

    • Comments

      • “Not enough storage space”

      • “We don’t get supplies returned very well”

      • “Delay patient care until the item is located”

Data collection continued

  • Process Flow Map

    • Time spent on inventory, ordering, restocking supplies

      • OB staff spent 146 min/week

        • Materials spent 47 min/week

  • Time to Find 5 Items

    • OB nurses: 50.1 seconds

    • Non-dept staff: 7 min 11.8 sec

  • Take “Before” pictures


  • Simple process of organizing supplies/equipment for improved workflow and better use of resources

  • Sort:

    • All unneeded items, equipment, supplies removed from area

  • Set in Order:

    • A place for everything, everything in its place

  • Shine:

    • Keep items and the work area clean

  • Standardize:

    • Apply methods consistently across all areas

  • Sustain:

    • Becomes a part of the culture (this is the difficult part)


  • Remove from area unnecessary supplies/equipment

    • Red Tags/Unneeded Items Log

      • Staff completed

Sort continued
SORT, continued

  • Comparison of current stock and par levels with annual usage report to identify over-stocking

    • Established a 3-day par

      • Restock M, W, F (3 days gets through weekend)

    • Consider staff feelings and experience

Set in order

  • A place for everything and everything in its place

    • Nursery items remained in the nursery

    • Medication supplies remained by the Pyxis

    • Supplies were restocked from six locations

      • Decreased to two

      • Supply remains at point of use, but is stocked from central location

    • Looked at how items are distributed from Materials

      • Syringes-- Box v. Each


  • Methods applied consistently

    • Color coding established hospital-wide

    • Requisition list cleaned up

      • Eliminate unused products

      • Reassessed special order items

        • If ordered frequently, move to stock


  • Part of the culture

    • Communication Board

    • Bins used allowed for just enough space for par levels set

      • Adjust pars as necessary

      • Give staff a voice


  • Clean

    • As you move supplies, the dust will fly

The results
The Results

  • Return of supplies in OB totaled $1,545

  • Time spent on supply management (weekly)

    • OB: 146 min decreased to 5 min

    • Materials: 64 min increased to 111 min

    • 40% decrease in total time spent in all dept

    • Shift from Nursing staff to Materials clerk (better use of talent)

  • Time to Find 5 Items

    • OB Nurses from 50.1 sec to 43.7 sec (12.77% )

    • Outside Staff from 7 min 11.8 sec to 74.8 sec (82.68% )









Spread of 5s project
Spread of 5S project


  • Supplies centralized

  • Secure

  • Restocked by Materials

    • Duplicate orders stopped

Spread of 5s project1
Spread of 5S project


  • Created a centralized supply room

  • Med Room

  • Previously 8 areas for supplies

  • Decreased to 2 and restocked by Materials, not Nursing

  • Able to return a patient room to patient care from equipment storage

Spread of 5s project2
Spread of 5S project

Med/SurgMed Room

Interruption-Free Zone around Pyxis

All medication supplies and sharps kept here

Spread of 5s project3
Spread of 5S project


Spread of 5S project

Kanban Cards

Standardization of Rooms

  • Device that clearly triggers action

  • Staff knows where everything is and pars stay set

Sustainability of 5s project results
Sustainability of 5S project results

Departmental Follow-up

  • System promotes adherence to par levels

  • Changes in supplies

  • Pars/Update Order sheets

  • Fire Codes 

Sustainability of 5s project results1
Sustainability of 5S project results

Difficulties we’ve encountered along the way…

  • Staffing/Time Constraints

  • Budget Constraints

  • Data Collection

    • Found our way back

Dawn Gabrich, MS, ATC, LAT – Rehabilitative Services Coordinator – Lean Black Belt - Woodlawn HospitalCarrie Bowers, MBA – Senior Accountant – Lean Green Belt - Woodlawn Hospital Sheila Kelty, DHA, FACHE – Lean Six Sigma Black Belt - Purdue Healthcare Advisors – [email protected]