Developing and implementing lean to save more lives
Learn about value stream optimization and target condition; how to maintain traceability and compliance while minimizing paperwork; kanban system to reduce inventory and lead time; yellow belt training; daily visual management.
Community Tissue Services has always strongly identified with its vision of ‘maximizing the gift’, so the lean concept of ‘minimizing waste’ has been a natural fit. With significant increases in yield per donor, it can provide more lifesaving and enhancing grafts from each donor. The company has worked on value stream (VS) optimization through its yellow belt training program. Cross-functional teams look at a product stream from the time a customer says “I have a need” until that need is satisfied. The teams are given a target condition for their VS and work to implement improvements using PDCA problem-solving methodology. Examples of successes have been ‘Sutured Tendons’ and ‘Dental Jars’. Sutured tendons are a value-added product that saves operating room time for surgeons with bundled tendons using tissue that would have previously been discarded. Process improvement has included development of a cross-training plan, a standardization kaizen and development of visual controls. The result in the first six months of this year is a 287 per cent increase in production with no additional labor. Dental jars are a ground bone product distributed under a variety of OEM labels. The previous would have resulted in 105 days of inventory and long lead times. Generic processing and a kanban pull system has reduced inventory over 50 percent and establish a lead time of days, rather than weeks. VS optimization has reduced paperwork and increased employee-suggested improvements for processing time and safety.
Community Tissue Services is a not-for-profit processor of donor tissue. It offers physicians and their patients’ biologic allograft solutions. Its goal is to provide safe and efficacious allografts while seeking innovative biologic solutions for patients. Its state-of-the art Center for Tissue, Innovation and Research works to develop technologies to stimulate the biologic properties of allografts. www.communitytissue.org
Amy Erickson leads the post processing production areas and provides continuous improvement support to the organization. She is 30-year manufacturing professional who has helped a wide variety of companies with their continuous improvement journeys. Erickson previously served as the founding coordinator for the Jacksonville Lean Consortium.
Dean Golden is the senior director of manufacturing. He has an extensive background in the medical device industry and a passion for continuous improvement and leadership.