Supply chain professionals doing 3P design work

Friday, December 19, 2014

Seattle Children’s Hospital dipped into the breakthrough design approach with 3P.  For over a year, Greg Beach, senior director of supply chain at Seattle Children’s Hospital and his team participated in 3P design with nursing and facilities to develop a better nursing unit and patient room design. 

“We mocked up in cardboard in greater detail with the architects the exact dimensions, and 4P helped us address the fine details — light switches, gas outlets on the walls, for example. We had more than a year of planning and mockups before we handed it over to the architects. I know it helped reduce building size by 30 percent. 

To answer the question, “Can the nurse get what she needs?” Beach and his team reviewed lots of great details — all the bottlenecks, the flow of supplies coming in this way, with the patient moving this way, etc. 

“3P is a different approach. It’s pretty impressive when you get everybody going over the design, touching and seeing, moving from a cardboard mockup to finished site,” Beach said. 

(For 3P/4P examples illustrating pre-production design work, see The Perfect Engine: How to Win in the New Demand Economy by Building to Order With Fewer Resources, by Anand Sharma and Patricia E. Moody, Simon and Schuster 2001, “The Power of Simulation: Design for Lean Sigma.”)

When the cardboard mockups were complete, the team next moved to a real-time pilot in the warehouse, evaluating all material and workflows. 

None of these projects would have gone forward, however, without good working relationships between clinical staff and the supply management logistics pros. 

“I have a political sense about me,” said Beach. “There’s lots of learning and lots of fun if you don’t ruffle feathers. The nurses in our area like us. We are a magnet hospital and that means it’s important for us to be integrated into the clinical departments because we know that supply management and logistics are key to a better system.”

Patricia Moody
Patricia Moody

Named by Fortune magazine a "Pioneering Woman in Manufacturing," Patricia E. Moody, The Mill Girl at Blue Heron, is a business visionary, author of 14 business books and hundreds of features. A manufacturing and supply management consultant for more than 30 years, her client list includes Fortune 100 companies as well as start-ups. She is the publisher of Blue Heron Journal, where she created the Made In The Americas (sm), the Education for Innovation (sm) and the Paging Dr. Lean (sm) series. Her next book about the future of manufacturing is The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Copyright Patricia E. Moody 2013. With permission.