Open Letter to a Healthcare CEO

Open Letter to a Healthcare CEO

Dear CEO:

Some Benefits of the Toyota Production System

Firstly, let me paint a picture of your future organization after implementing the expertise of the Toyota Production System. The advantages of a maniacal  focus on process and system improvement:

  • Most importantly, everyone in the Healthcare System is directed toward success,
  • Consequently, the Healthcare System attains Profound Knowledge of its processes, and
  • Attain a new winning culture,
  • Certainly, the Healthcare System Seeks Perfection:
    1. At a rate of 11 ideas per employee per year,
    2. Management defines the direction of all these ideas,
    3. Toyota will not expand to a new plant unless they have a critical mass of employees that know this procedure,
    4. This is how come no competitor will ever catch Toyota, and
    5. Your culture improves to one of winning.
  • Above all, organize your suppliers into at least 7 categories:
    1. Tier 1: Strategic and deliver Just-in-Time,
    2. Tier 2: Strategic and meeting Sigma Performance Requirements,
    3. Tier 3: Strategic and desired Just-in-Time deliveries,
    4. Tier 4: Strategic and not meeting Sigma Performance Requirements,
    5. Tier 5: Not Strategic and Just-in-Time,
    6. Tier 6: Not strategic and not meeting Sigma Requirements, and
    7. Tier 7: Not Strategic and meeting Sigma Requirements.
  • Firstly, everyone on the service or product line becomes a quality inspector through the use of andon:
    1. andon is the stoppage of a system when a defect is detected,
    2. Continuously remove defects,
    3. Toyota still receives about 800 andon stops per year per manufacturing plant,
    4. Toyota has a strategy to minimize the impact of stoppages.
  • All smaller but often purchased items can be put into a double bin system to decrease inventory costs and increase availability,
  • Implement the Pull Methodology wherever possible. It increases process speed and minimizes inventory waste,
  • Implement Lean Six Sigma to:
    1. Certainly, increase process velocity,
    2. Decrease process costs, and
    3. Increase process quality.
  • Above all, Success Metrics are periodically reported to management,
  • You attain Profound Knowledge of your whole healthcare System, and
  • Your organization no longer worries about the competition but welcomes them. Your System will get stronger year after year.
Get Credit for Effort Performed

Apply for a Baldrige Performance Excellence Award for Process Excellence. Part of this process is self-reflection and part is support from the Baldridge Organization.

In Summary

The Toyota Production System is a 6+ Sigma System and there’s no reason how come your Healthcare System cannot strive for that level of performance. Therefore, think about making progress toward a Malcolm Baldrige Award (indicating the realization of Operational Excellence, a competitive advantage).


Jim FitzGerald

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt


Apply the Tools of The 6+ Sigma Toyota Production System to the Healthcare System