Value Stream Mapping for Health Management

Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is a versatile Lean tool in both the manufacturing and service industries. It has been successfully applied to just about every industry, including health services. It also combines very effectively with Six Sigma tools and methods to improve process capability, as well as output product quality and stability.

Unfortunately, there are many ways to apply VSM and most of us struggle to appreciate its power and versatility.  Here's a simplied approach for using a Value Stream Maps to improve individual health, (and without the taktzeit).

The Role of the IT Operations Manager

No matter how big or small the business, it is fair to say that most companies are relying more and more on complex Information Technology infrastructure. The capacity, power and communication capability are growing at rates that could barely be comprehended 20 or 30 years ago. Add to this the dynamics and innovation of global competition, not only in services and product delivery, but also in operations support techniques, then it is little wonder that any sub-standard Operations Management model is at risk of crippling an otherwise viable enterprise.

The foundation to a succesful and sustainable Operations Support team lies with the diligent selection of the right IT Operations Manager, plus the clear, detailed, well planned and unequivocal role description by which he or she is directed on a daily basis.  "Making it up as you go" will not cut it any longer.

Applying Statistical Process Control to Health Monitoring

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is the widely recognised method for analysing and monitoring process capability. It is entrenched in the continuous improvement methodology of Six Sigma and other Quality Management philosophies, and provides a pratical, visual approach for evaluating both input and output CTQ (Critical to Quality) indicators.

Whilst Six Sigma employs a number of statistical methods (such as Control Charts and Pareto analysis) to improve production efficiencies and achieve process stability, SPC can employ any number of analytical and graphical techniques to achieve quality objectives.

Quality Systems and Continuous Improvement

Choosing the best approach for introducing  a more formal Continuous Improvement plan in IT Service Management quickly generates dozens of views and suggestions.  Most opinions usually  have some merit, but don't always offer the best practical solution for all businesses and situations.

I'm not about to preach the virtues of one system over another.  However, it is useful to have an understanding of different quality systems, relevant tools and practical methods for diving into effective Continuous Improvement.

Customer Service - Three Focus Areas

Customer Service is a topic with no end of available books and free online training, with various viewpoints and management approaches.  So why read one more article on the subject?  After all, we are all experts by now - fully focused on our customer needs and helping our company achieve yet another "Delivery Excellence" award.

The problem is two-fold:  A.  Information overload, and  B.  Too many areas to focus attention simultaneously.

Continual Improvement or Continuous Improvement?

Is your organisation involved in Continual Improvement or Continuous Improvement?   In the context of IT Service Management, many professionals interchange these quality management terms. However, there is a significant difference between the two terms when it comes to improving our management practices, and providing excellent customer service.

Continual Improvement is more about planning and implementing strategic programmes to change the company's products, services, people and processes for the better.  Whilst Continuous Improvement is related to the constant, daily work practices and staff activities that are relentlously devoted to removing wasted effort and ellimitating defective products, services and processes.

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