Start a Daily Morning Huddle to Reduce Waste, Improve On-time Delivery, and Boost Product Quality
If your lab is anything like mine, there are certain details that seem to slip through the cracks. What is so disheartening, with the loss of details, money is also falling through the cracks. I was visiting a close friend who owns a large lab in Europe. While at his lab, I attended a daily 9:00 AM manager’s huddle. It seemed so effective, I implemented it and then customized it in my lab. It has been so successful I thought I should share what we are doing.
Flag Mission-critical Cases The meeting takes just 10-20 minutes and all managers attend. Below is a list of cases that we identify as “mission-critical,” or cases that need extra attention because they require additional detail or care. We review these case types in our morning huddle once the model work is complete: New complex cases (6 or more units) Returns and/or remakes Cases that have fallen behind in our workflow for on-time delivery
Get Them on the Whiteboard Center stage at the meeting is a medium-sized whiteboard with rows and columns laid out with a permanent marker for the long term. This board will have case pan numbers, case type, problems, category and who will be responsible (case owner) for getting the case integrated into the lab for success. By getting this team up on late cases, remakes, bottlenecks and/or complex cases, we now have more cohesion as a team to get things right, thus reducing problems and improving customer experience with our lab.
Create a Detailed Plan for Each Case For the very first meeting, we physically bring in the all pans that fit into the criteria of the three categories above. We start with complex cases, and as a team, determine a best-in-class plan. Then remakes, to make sure we understand what went wrong and how to get it right this time. Lastly all cases that have fallen behind and in-house remakes that are in jeopardy of being late. In conclusion, each case is discussed to determine best path, given an owner to implement into production and case details are added to the white board.
Revisit Active Cases Daily Once we had our first meeting, all subsequent meetings started by reviewing the cases that were placed on the whiteboard at a prior meeting, generally the day before. Each case on the board is quickly discussed to confirm by the case owner that the Rx plan previously discussed was accepted. Late cases have been pushed through production and are now back on track. Yesterday’s remakes are thoroughly understood and will be completed correctly the second time. As cases are confirmed to be integrated into the lab, we erase them from the whiteboard. If cases remain in question, the details remain on the whiteboard until the next meeting. Next up, is the discussion of all the new work as described in the last paragraph. When cases stay on the board for more than a day we will dig in deeper to establish what’s needed.
Since implementation of the AM huddle, on time delivery has improved, remakes are done correctly the second time around and complex cases are more well understood by all.
Freddy, thanks for sharing the AM huddle with me & thanks to all for reading.
Bob Cohen, CDT