Example why there is no 'flow'

Recently I visited a PA lab and one of the analysts gave an example of a lack of flow:
Why does it take several weeks for the results of a smear for "cervical cancer' to get back to you? (Partly) because the smear is delivered only once a week by a courier from the pharmacies to the hospital. Then a big batch comes in. If you have bad luck it takes up to a week between the visit to your general practicioner and the the test getting into the hospital.

The hospital then has a week to process the whole batch (because it must be completed before the next batch comes in). If you have bad luck it takes another one week before your test gets into the process and you have waited for two weeks with, untill now, not one action that added value.
Why are the tests deliverd by courier in batches? Previously this did not happen, the general practicioners used to sent it by mail, which was literally a smear. A while ago, however, a new and better technique was introduced with tubes that do not fit through the letterbox. The GP therefore can not mail it anymore. Therefore, he (or an assistant) has to bring it to the pharmacy (which often also takes several days by the way), and a courier has to pick it up there again.

Suggestion of the analyst: ask the manufacturer of the tubes to create a smaller tube type that will allow to be mailed daily again, taking out more then two weeks of processing time.
His story shows nicely how you can look at processes from a (one-piece-) flow perspective. It shows the problem of batching, it uses root-cause analysis with '5 x why?" and reduction of unnecessary steps. A good example also how poor flow (weekly courier) leads to more bad flow (one week to process the tests).

Geen opmerkingen: