Lean improvements for Caremed
Lean can have a truly positive impact on an organisation - particularly if it creates a cultural change - which is Caremed’s long term plan. Lean principles are about gaining efficiencies within a business, the impact of which is reducing unnecessary processes and making a business smarter and better to deal with – the customer is always at the centre of a lean business.
Here at Caremed we have been reviewing our processes over the past months, and we continue to do so; ways to simplify and improve them. However, the cultural change is that processes are reviewed continuously; to make sure they are still as simple and efficient as possible. Each person within Caremed now has a responsibility for looking at their processes and simplifying them – and then reviewing them.
We now have a map of what our desks should look like - everything is standardised so we can quickly see what does and doesn’t belong on there. Something as simple as defaulting the printer options to grayscale has saved the business money already. Added to that, we had a number of different systems in the office that each recorded different information, and when inputting, there was significant repetition. We are now merging the systems into one, which has simplified the process inhouse, and this also means a customer will be able to speak to any member of the team and they will know the current situation.
Lean learning in the warehouse
Another example is the rental returns process, which has been streamlined. Occasionally if the warehouse were particularly busy, they would put aside examining a returned rental product immediately and just clean it, so not aware of any possible repairs that might be needed. Unaware of this in the sales department, the chair or tilt table might get rented out again immediately, and then there would be a rush to get it mended. Now when a rental is returned it is cleaned and examined immediately. If any repairs can’t be fixed immediately this is now flagged on the system and the product then cannot be rented out until the repair has taken place. The end result of this process? Quicker rental despatch and improved quality – both of which have a positive impact on our customer.
We have also instigated Lean in small ways such as our lovely tool board we now have in the warehouse. This allows us to see what tools are missing and encourages staff to put them back once they have finished with them!
Overall, the lean philosophy seems to have integrated well in Caremed and the staff are seeing the benefits already. Nathan, our MD said, “It's already making a positive difference and simplifying a number of processes here at Caremed HQ, and I am really pleased that this will have an impact on our customers as well as our staff."