Cancer Center Plans Expansion
Clinical Cancer Center Articles
Using Kaizen to Reduce WasteImagine pouring a cup of coffee. What exact steps do you go through? Do you pick up the cup when you pour the coffee and then set it back down to add cream and sugar? Do you have to walk to get a spoon to stir it? Look at every motion you take; look for something unnecessary to cut out. This is the Kaizen technique.
A process made famous on the Toyota production line, Kaizen is a Japanese word translated roughly to mean gradual, orderly, continuous improvement. Utilizing Kaizen as a business strategy is committing to sustained continuous improvement. This means you are serious about eliminating waste and keeping a close eye on waste creeping back into your work. These techniques are being used by the project team working on the new Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center.
Kaizen events are performed by a team of people on the job site, led by the director of quality for Mortenson Construction, over a three-day period. Those chosen for the team include the people who actually perform the tasks, because they know the operation best. Other members of the team include superintendents, safety engineers, project engineers and project managers.
“Kaizen is intended to assist in continually improving processes as you eliminate waste,” said Brian Marble, senior superintendent of Mortenson Construction. At the Clinical Cancer Center, Marble said the three processes examined were concrete wall work, placing and finishing of concrete floors and coordination of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.
Everyone involved in the specific process gets together and breaks down each process into stages. Each stage is examined to eliminate waste. Some examples of waste are unnecessary movements of people and materials, too much inventory cluttering the site and any quality defect that needs to be reworked.
“At Froedtert, we’re using Lean Six Sigma to find the best solution for a problem and improve how we do things,” said John Balzer, vice president of Froedtert & Community Health Facility Planning and Development. “Mortensen is taking a similar approach through Kaizen; it’s eliminating waste to make the process more efficient. The improved efficiencies result in Froedtert getting a safer, better quality product at the lowest cost possible.”