Who is doing your training?
This past Saturday morning before eating breakfast, my wife Donna Lee and I went to the Providence Hospital in Newberg to have my blood drawn. You may have had this experience when you have to fast before having blood drawn. Jokingly I said to the nurse, “Be sure they check my cholesterol levels this time. I’m here and hungry because the last time they failed to do a cholesterol level analysis.” The following Monday afternoon my doctor’s office called saying my lab results were in. The good news - my liver is in great shape, but they failed – you guessed it - to check my cholesterol levels again!
To be sure the point is clear, the only reason I had blood drawn was because the lab failed to check my cholesterol levels the last time they drew blood. Now I would have to go back a third time to have blood drawn. I said, “Wait a minute! Time out! Why didn’t they check my cholesterol levels?” Whoever wrote up the order at the doctor’s office failed to specify ‘check cholesterol levels.’ “Can you call the lab and see if they still have my blood?” “Well, I guess I can.” “Let’s try that because I don’t want to go back and have more blood drawn.” A couple of hours later she called back. “Yes, they still have your blood and will check your cholesterol levels.” Tuesday morning the doctor’s office called again to tell me my cholesterol levels were all in the normal range. That’s the good news we had been waiting for!
Why am I relaying this story? If you followed it, you know I made two trips to the hospital to have blood drawn. The costs are paid by my insurance. I’m guessing it’s
a few hundred dollars. My blood was drawn, sent to the lab for analysis twice - (1) my doctor’s office called to say they didn’t have the cholesterol analysis, (2) called again to say they still didn’t have the cholesterol analysis, (3) called again to say there was some blood remaining at the lab, (4) called back to say my cholesterol level was fine. This is all rework! Rework that occurred because one person didn’t complete the paperwork correctly, not once but twice!
Our work with clients stresses the importance of ensuring processes are flowing seamlessly with no rework and the importance of finding high leverage points for process improvement. What’s a high leverage point? A high leverage activity is the one thing you can do that will fix many problems. What’s the one thing that can be done here? Thorough, complete training of whoever fills out the paperwork. It takes discipline, and often an outsider’s beginner’s eye, to question established routines. Most businesses accept as normal practices the cost of rework.
Complete basic training is your path to eliminating rework, lowering costs, less frustration, greater profits, and happier customers.
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