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What Is Gary Kaplan Trying to Achieve at Virginia Mason?

Autor:   •  January 3, 2019  •  Case Study  •  1,317 Words (6 Pages)  •  153 Views

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Gary Kaplan’s vision for Virginia Mason

What is Gary Kaplan trying to achieve at Virginia Mason?

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Gary Kaplan is trying to transform healthcare services at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in a similar fashion to what Toyota did using the Toyota Production System. VMCC was facing daunting challenges. It recorded money loss for the first time in 1998 and 1999 in double digits. This reduced staff morale. Also, the competition was fierce. To overcome all these challenges, Gary Kaplan was developing a strategy to address those and make VMCC as the leader in health care quality. While Kaplan was implementing his initiatives of consolidating less-profitable business lines and growing highly profitable lines but still he needed tools for executing his strategy of improving quality, putting patients as first and differentiate VMCC from its competitors.

He found similarities between Toyota’s goals and VMCC’s goals of focus on quality, safety and customer focus. So, he turned his focus on developing a similar process as Toyota Production System in VMCC called Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS). VMPS focused on reducing cost by reducing wastage of time, material, space, excessive inventory and movement.

The first step was to make everyone agree that VMPS was a good step in the right direction without any resistance. For this, No Layoff policy was instituted according to which people would be trained to move to different verticals instead of firing them. The next steps were to understand the processes in place, to measure them and then improve them.

Adopting Toyota Production System

How does the Toyota Production System fit into his strategy?

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Toyota had set the gold standards in managing the automotive assembly line. Their prime focus was on improving the quality of the products while aiming at reducing costs. This was achieved by integrating quality control in the production process itself and by minimizing the wastage through the production process. Just-in-time production ensured only what was needed was produced and production needs were met during fluctuating demand while holding minimum excess inventory. Costs were also reduced by eliminating waste across various factors – overproduction, excess inventory, movement, time, material and space. Quality was improved by driving frontline workers to solve production problems and implementing tools such as the ‘Andon Chord’ – whenever a worker discovered a problem which he could not fix, he would pull the chord and supervisors would help in problem-solving. Therefore, with such systems in place, Toyota achieved leadership in product quality, cost, reliability, customer and employee satisfaction.


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