Standard Work and Couriers

Standard Work and Couriers As you recall Work Rule #1 of the Toyota Production System is developing and adhering to standard work. Key aspects of standard work include process details related to the content, sequence, timing, location and expected outcome of that work, so specified. This is not easy to do, as you know, and requires considerable effort, consensus and collaboration to develop for numerous workers attempting to perform the same procedure. Thus a standard operating procedure (SOP) is not the same as standard work, although standard work is developed toward consistently achieving the SOP. Standard work is at the infrastructure level, below and supporting the intended outcome of the SOP.

This brings me to the new courier schedule which was developed to support our new work requirement in our Hub-Spoke model of integration to send slides back from Henry Ford Hospital (the hub) to the affiliate hospitals (the spokes) throughout the day or in reverse. To that end we have structured new shipping containers, labels and similar courier launch pad zones in each hospital using LEAN principles. We also continue to work with the courier to understand our new expectations (their new standard work).

This courier system was designed to get slides (and specimens) back and forth from spokes (affiliate hospitals) to the Hub (HFH). It is not designed, nor will be, to transfer slides or specimens around the perimeter between affiliate hospitals (or pathologists residing at those spokes for the day). This would violate the standard work design. So don't be surprised if that would not work. Don't do it.

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