A Dozen Winning Ideas from Three Healthcare In-plants
Every year that I moderate an ideal panel session at the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association conference I get some great ideas from the panelists. This year, the session was called "Winning In-plant Ideas” and featured three healthcare in-plant leaders:
- Jon Bedsted, Mayo Clinic
- Gayle Robinson, Tanner Health System
- Brett Jenkins, Nationwide Children’s Hospital (NCH)
The panelists shared ideas and experiences about shop transformation, process improvement, culture and growing new leaders that have helped them be “front runners.” The panelists discovered that the four topics are interrelated. For instance, panelists have found that process improvements have transformed their shops, improved the culture of their in-plants, and in some cases helped grow new leaders.
The panelists provided a number of ideas in each of the four areas that are compiled into what we call the "Winning In-plant Ideas" book. The book has more than 30 ideas. For the conference session each panelist shared one key idea in each topic, covering about 18 ideas, some of which are not in the book.
Here are 12 key ideas shared in the session that I thought were helpful:
- Shop transformation can and does lead to CEO recognition and administrative support. Support can take the form of increased business, an open house, and even a new print center for one of the panelists.
- It is possible transform a shop from a “get what you get” mentality toward customers with no choices offered. Robinson changed her in-plant’s customer interactions to be more customer-centric, communicated to customers and secured products they wanted, and then alerted customers when the shop got something new that would help them meet their goals.
- For the Mayo clinic, one process improvement — adding booklet makers and having everything needed to create and package booklets in one place — has transformed the shop and reduced the need for staffing after department retirements.
- Budget, space restrictions, and a customer-centric approach have necessitated a creative strategy at Tanner Health. The in-plant seeks out new applications it can print on existing equipment, like cleanable polyester nurse badges and repositionable clings that can be moved during hospital construction projects.
- “Impact Projects” allow non-management staff to nominate and lead a project that improves a process and supports the organization’s mission. These projects challenge staff while providing support from the leadership team.
- Mayo has also found Lean tools like daily huddles and Gemba walks valuable for communication, addressing pressing challenges, and to discuss items that bubble up to the supervisor and lead level that often are more complex.
- Continuous improvement initiatives at Mayo have changed the shop’s culture for the better. Employees are involved in the improvements and don't have to wait for a supervisor. For small projects, staff can have a project group and solve it immediately or use some tools and get more people involved.
- Celebrate everything in employee’s lives, take an interest in the staff’s lives outside of work and have employees vote on the fun activities they want to do. Jenkins explained that, “Happy employees give great service. They pay it forward.”
- Proactively plan to meet skill gaps that arise from retirements through training, technology and process improvements.
- Set aside a few hours a week for training and coaching ranging from operational to management duties such as approval practices for upper management and how to research equipment and products to accompany the equipment.
- Ask new and up-and-coming leaders in the department what they want to learn and what works for them. Asking empowers staff and creates understanding and engagement.
- At NCH all levels of leaders are included in strategic planning, increasing buy-in and challenging new leaders to think more long term. NCH also gives new leaders challenging projects to “stretch them” and let new leaders figure things out. Current managers are available for research, ideas and help and make it safe for the new leader to fail. By allowing new leaders to work through their process, they figure out what works for them. “Sometimes they get stuck and they'll come and ask us for help, which is what we want them to do,” Jenkins says. “But I don't think that we can really grow new leadership unless we take off the reigns and give them a chance to do it on their own and figure things out their own way, and let them kind of come into their own for the next generation."
Elisha Kasinskas is Rochester Software Associates’ (RSA) award-winning marketing director. She is responsible for all marketing, public relations, social media and communications, and community building for the firm. Ms. Kasinskas joined RSA in 2010. She is a marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in sales, product management and marketing in leading product and service business-to-business and business-to-consumer firms, including Pinnacle (Birds Eye) Foods, Level 3, HSBC, and a number of regional high-tech firms. She holds an RIT MBA and a BS, Marketing from Radford University. Kasinskas is a frequent moderator for industry speaking sessions, an in-plant blogger, and has received industry awards including the IPMA Outstanding Contributor award. She was an OutputLinks Women of Distinction class of ’15 inductee. Her marketing work with IPMA has secured multiple awards from the American Marketing Association (AMA).