Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stephen Ruffa on Going Lean

I wanted to highlight comments I received from Stephen Ruffa, an aerospace engineer, a business researcher, and a Shingo Prize winning author. His comments can be found below, or here in the blog. I thought you may find his insights helpful and didn't want you to miss them. To learn more about Stephen Ruffa and his latest work you can visit his site here.

Stephen A. Ruffa said...
The goals of your organization appear to be well suited to a lean transformation. And lower waste is certainly the most visible outcome of lean. Still, I hope that you’ve been cautioned that directly targeting this outcome without first understanding the organization’s dynamic conditions--those uncertain demands and shifting needs that often drives these wastes to accumulate in the first place--can affect what your efforts are able to achieve.

This dynamic focus, which has been demonstrated by some of the world’s most successful firms, seems particularly important for dealing with the types of challenges faced by healthcare.

April 15, 2009 5:23 AM
Anna Roth said...
Dear Mr. Ruffa,

Your comments are greatly appreciated. I agree that the shifting demands and the root cause of those are critical for us to understand. It will be a great challenge.

We have been told how important it is to avoid oversimplifying the journey of a Lean transformation and that although many organizations employ Lean techniques, far less experience total transformation.

I do believe that we (the system) create not all, but a significant amount of the variation in demand, and that our fully integrated health system is well positioned to significantly level or smooth our flow using Lean principles.

I would like to learn more. I have read your book "Going Lean" and am waiting the arrival of "Breaking the Cost Barrier". Can you direct me to any other resources?

April 16, 2009 6:28 AM
Stephen A. Ruffa said...
I'm glad my comments were helpful. In response to your question, I just wrote an article to help explain the importance of applying a "lean dynamics" methodology to challenging circumstances (like those seen in healthcare)--how this produces stronger, much more sustainable results that lead to greater innovation.

The article titled, "Going Lean as a Solution to Navigating Uncertainty and Crisis", and you can link to it through my book's website at

Also, more is on the way--including training and other publications. If anyone has specific questions, they can reach me through the same website.

April 16, 2009 7:42 AM

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