The Challenge

Making a major move poses a challenge—and an opportunity—to take a fresh look at the way you do things. For this large clinic, relocating the majority of its medical practices was a chance to introduce more efficient processes throughout its new facility. Building on Point B’s previous Lean work to help prepare for the move, our client asked us to redesign a critical materials management process. The new process will drive the ordering and distribution of standard medical supplies across all medical practice areas. The aim: to optimize the availability of supplies while reducing costs.

Sharing a Clear Vision

Knowing that both clinicians and the supply team have a major stake in the success of the new process, we brought them together to define what that success would look like. We led the team in assessing the current process and defining a clear vision for the new one. The team rallied around three goals: minimal clinical involvement; minimum inventory at all levels of the supply chain; and a higher level of supply standardization to reduce costs.

Based on these criteria, we designed several Lean-driven scenarios and helped the team evaluate the pros and cons of each option. The team chose a new process that requires very little on- premise supply—a big departure from the current status quo.

Piloting the Lean Process

To build confidence in the new process before rolling it out system-wide, we piloted it in Pediatrics and OB/GYN— two of the clinic’s most complex, supply- intensive medical specialties. Lean by design, the new process limits the number of items in the supply chain; assigns a standard location for each item for easy restocking by supply staff; and gives clinical staff a visual trigger for knowing when to reorder an item— eliminating the guesswork that led to overstocking in the past.

Showing Results Before the Roll-Out

By the end of the first two-week pilot, the new resupply process had proven itself. On-premise inventories were reduced to a consistent level of 3-4 days of supplies. Clinical staff was able to dramatically reduce its resupply efforts to only a few seconds per day. And the supply team saved time and money with a predictable process that streamlines inventory and logistics. Going forward, the clinic will roll out the new resupply process across its other 21 medical specialties using a roadmap we developed. Meanwhile, Pediatrics and OB/GYN are leading the way; both were so impressed by the results of the pilot that there’s no going back.