I’ve decided that the time for thinking, talking and planning is over. If I’m going to get anywhere with my thesis, I’m gonna have to start doing! And Fast!
So I barge into the supply-chain department’s office yesterday morning at the hospital and declare
EngChic: “It’s time to be revolutionary!”
I lift the large, heavy white-board off its stand and start frantically cleaning it (using a bandage and a bottle of detergent that I suspect is meant for medical wound sterilization). I’m met with an array of responses, from blank stares to fits of giggles to outright screeches.
Z: “What happened to EngChic?”
F: “I dunno, she just came in and started talking like a crazy person”
S: Waaaa! Hahahahaha
I make a big, beautiful visual control system called an ANDON board, showing the stock that had been requested by the wards but not issued due to out-of-stock items. The response from everyone was surprisingly good! The storemen liked how that they could see what was out-of-stock, the manager liked how he could keep the storemen in check, the data capturerers liked how they could communicate info to the ward staff without having to search for documents, the ward staff liked that they could see when their stock was coming!
So simple, but why the hell had nobody done it before???
So this morning I burst into the office rounding everyone up and shipping them to the boardroom for a Lean Workshop. I simulated a simplified production line and got everyone to participate in ‘lean games’. Everyone loves to play games, and I really think it was helpful to get them to visualise flow! Of course, I had a lot of fun jumping up and down, screaming at the play-operators to hurry and produce faster coz ‘the patients are suffering!’
I sneakily snuck in a couple of lean principles like waste, flow and value-to-the-customer to get them thinking…Brainwashing is a slow process! I even invited the ward clerk I had a tiff with last week in the hope that it would show her the ‘bigger picture’ and get her to buy into the changes she’s been resisting, but we ended up having another screaming match which ended in a tense truce…lol…you can’t teach some old dogs new tricks…
The rest of the morning was spent decorating the office with bright and colourful visual controls like KANBAN! Lean can really be fun at times! I love how creative you can be!
This thesis is teaching me so much about real life…Really, you don’t know anything until you ‘do it’…Most of my time has been spent talking to people, building relationships, trust, convincing them to see things differently and to buy into my ideas…convincing them it was their idea in the 1st place…
The question is, where is ‘Mechanical Engineering’ in all of this? Well, someone told me the other day that the root meaning of ‘engineer’ is someone who makes things happen…so I guess the answer to the question is ‘everywhere’.