A Lean-Infused Process Can Inform Design Decisions

By David Watts, AIA, Principal

Our design team has developed a Lean-infused design process for hospitals that help staff perform their best work and improve value to the patient. What we mean by “Lean-infused design process” is that we use Lean principles to add value to our design. To be clear, this is not an extra service at additional cost to the client. Rather, we believe it is an essential part of the design process that is incorporated naturally into planning, programming and schematic design.

To begin our Lean-infused design process, we will challenge your staff to conduct their own in-house Lean events, redefining the main goals of their department and considering how they could do their jobs better. We find this to be a fruitful way to launch a project; many people lack confidence in their ability to speak of design, but they all have ideas about how their jobs could be done more effectively. To facilitate this exercise, we will work with each department in the hospital to identify two or three key processes that need improvement. MCA will then introduce tools that will help to quantify and analyze these procedures. Together we will establish clear value-added processes that will serve as the basis for design.

 

Project Highlights

  • It is only after these issues have been resolved that we begin to search for design solutions that will help to meet the clarified goals. This practice helps to remove assumptions about what a given department “looks like” so that we can create more innovative solutions crafted to meet the specific needs of each client. As architects, our job is to design facilities that support, rather than dictate, the ideal departmental procedures determined by our clients.

 

  • Operational workflow analysis
    is is naturally an integral part of our Lean-infused design process. We are able to use Lean tools, including Value Stream Analyses, DMAIC Methodologies, Spaghetti Diagrams, Kaizen Events, Rapid Improvement Events, Process Maps, and Process Observation Forms to help our clients understand how their physical environment can help them do their best work.