Content By Bruce Hamilton

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Last February I had the opportunity to observe healthcare providers up close and personal at one the world’s premier hospitals. “Who Cares for the Caregivers?” was written from the perspective of a patient in a cardiac step-down unit, sympathetically watching caregivers as they grappled with many small problems in their workday. Here is another story from the 8th-floor recovery area.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Last year I had a short stay at one of Boston’s best hospitals. Although I will be forever grateful for the excellent treatment I received while in their care, I wondered about a few systems that sat directly in front of my bed. So, I took a picture to share later. Here is what I saw.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

December was a busy month for everyone at GBMP. In addition to all of the usual activities to close out the year, we were packing to relocate from Newton, Massachusetts, to our new office in Boston. We were also tossing a whole lot of stuff, something we’d previously neglected to do.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Last week I joined the New England Idea Generation Consortium (NEIGC) on a tour of the Stone Zoo where we had the opportunity to see how continuous improvement is expressed in an animal-care function.

In the open area for black bears, Senior Keeper Dayle Sullivan-Taylor explained to us the importance of animal enrichment. “It’s the best part of my job, working with the animals on operant conditioning,” she says.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Bob C. was a frontline employee with 25 years of experience. His day was spent operating a machine that stripped and terminated leadwire assemblies. Problem was, there were more than 1,000 different assemblies, and it seemed that, while the machine was always busy, it was always behind schedule. Because these wire assemblies were needed for virtually every product his company manufactured, stockouts were a highly visible frustration.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Who remembers VisiCalc, often referred to as the first killer app? In 1978, this spreadsheet software ushered in the personal computing boom. Although it only ran on Apple’s priciest computer (the one with massive 32K RAM), its ability to calculate and recalculate arrays had much to do with the explosion of information automation.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Many years ago, the Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC) introduced a visual measurement device to my factory, referred to as a “production activity log” (PAL), also known to some as an hour-by-hour chart. Posted at the last operation of a particular process, the PAL provided an up-to-the-minute accounting and hourly summary of actual production quantity vs. plan.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Three years ago I wrote an article titled “The Emperor’s New Huddle Boards,” in which I expressed concern about the trappings of improvement without actual improvement. Since then, my concern about the application of leader standard work and gemba walks has deepened as these potentially valuable practices have too often degenerated into obligatory, scripted play acting.

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Last month I joined Eric Buhrens, CEO at Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), to host a leadership team from Tel Aviv’s Sourasky Medical Center. They were on a study mission to many of Boston’s fine hospitals and were winding up their week with a visit to LEI. Early in the discussion, one of our guests asked, “In a few words, please tell me what lean is.”

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By: Bruce Hamilton

Speaking at the 2003 Shingo Conference, Guy Briggs, general manager of North American operations for General Motors lamented, “We spent the 1980s ‘counting robots’ before we realized that it’s people that make the difference in our business.”