Covid 19 and Lean – English

Covid 19 and Lean – English

Covid 19 has been a topic of the day in the world for over 3 months now. The pandemic of this contagious disease has engulfed the entire world. Doctors and epidemiologists are making extra-ordinary efforts to stop the spread of this vicious disease and save lives. This is reported on a daily basis and people are warned how to contribute themselves to prevent the spread of this vicious disease: from regular hand washing, maintaining hygiene, meeting distance, preventing more people from gathering in one place, and other measures they recommend experts.

This appendix points to the fact that there is a link between the proposed measures and the Lean management concept used to improve processes and reduce waste in production and service processes.[1]

Let’s start with the first Lean principle – value. In production and service processes we mean the value of being seen by the customer, not the bidder. If this translates to Covid 19, it would mean that value is something that an individual with symptoms of the virus should and must take care not to pass on the infection to another person with whom he or she may come in contact. In a Lean concept for a product or service, this would be to prevent the occurrence of an error, that is, not to allow the error to go into downstream activity in the process, or to apply the Lean Poka-Yoke tool.

Poka-Yoke is Japanese slang most commonly translated as “avoidance of error”. Poka means unintentional mistakes. Yoke is a form of Yoker, which means to avoid it. Error avoidance, then, is the avoidance of unintentional errors (Shhingo Shiego, 1986). Avoiding error is known by various other names: avoiding idiots (grandma-yoke), proving a mistake, forcing behavior and barriers. Each term has a slightly different connotation, although there are significant overlaps in the corresponding meanings. Forcing behaviors is a subset of avoiding errors.

In order to avoid a mistake and to transmit the virus to a healthy person, the person who has the symptoms of the virus must think about others and, as soon as he feels that he has the symptoms of the virus corona, isolate himself, put a mask on if he has one, call and wait for the appropriate experts. who will continue to take the necessary measures, according to a defined procedure?

Self-isolation in the Lean concept means that Jidoka’s Lean tool is applied. Jidoka applies one of the most important Lean principles that can help achieve true excellence. Jidoka talks about quality at source or embedded quality. No company can survive without the excellent quality of its products and services, and Jidoka is the way to go. When it comes to Covid 19, one can draw a parallel and say that no country should allow the mortality of a large number of its citizens.

To prevent poor quality Jidoka from detecting irregularities, stopping the process, solving an immediate problem, and investigating the root cause. Every individual in a Lean company has the authority, in fact, to stop the process if it detects an abnormality. In this way, defects and problems are highlighted and action is taken. This is a step that many Western companies do not do because they are afraid of losing productivity due to the continuous shutdown of lines due to “minor” problems. The problem is also with the wait for drastic measures to be introduced to Covid 19.

Applying the above Jidoka Lean tool to Covid 19 would mean minimizing the movement of people to minimize adverse events and sequelae of Covid 19 for a long period of time until it drastically reduces or eliminates root causes leading to transmission of the infection with the person to person.

The concept of barriers is a broader term than error avoidance, in the case of Covid 19 for virus transmission. It is not only an approach to reduce unintentional error, instead, but it also encompasses a wide range of approaches. Some approaches to avoiding error include “security inspections” that simply isolate potential carriers of the virus and keep them in isolation to prevent further flow of virus transmission.

Other approaches use the output data from the virus propagation process to find the best way to manage the process of stopping that spread. A very effective approach involves checking the process before action in order to provide all the necessary conditions to drastically reduce the infection of healthy individuals. In each of these approaches, two functions are required: (1) the virus or its cause must be detected, and (2) corrective action must be taken. Most often, the corrective measure is to notify the person responsible for the virus symptoms, wait for the specialist to arrive, and place them in isolation. One of the most effective ways to do this is to stop the process of spreading the virus. Avoiding the spread of the virus often involves stopping the movement of people and contacts, as well as providing tools and methods to implement those measures.

Sometimes the initial unpleasant sequence of stopping the movement of people and contacts, for a shorter or longer period of time, begins to slow down the process of spreading, and in a short time begins to decrease as problems are eliminated, and the movement of people begins to increase as the root causes leading to the spread of the virus.

It is not possible to stop the movement of all people. There are jobs and tasks that require people to move around for limited periods of time: procuring drugs, procuring supplies, leaving medical staff to work, transporting, maintaining order, and the like. In these cases, some of the 5 Lean principles may apply. First, the Lean principle is TOK one piece. In the case of Covid 19, this means the flow of one person, that is, the movement of one by one at a distance of 1-2 m while waiting in line in front of a pharmacy, shop and the like. The LEAN principle of TOWING, not PUSHING, should be applied to the course of one person. The Pull principle means that the next person moves when the previous person has completed the necessary actions (buying medicines, groceries, etc.) at the sign of the person carrying out the downstream activity.

If the Push principle was used in the cases considered, which Lean explicitly excludes, there would be crowds (work in the process – more people in a small area), which would be conducive to spreading the virus and increasing the number of infected. This would create a huge problem for individuals as well as for society and the state.

Another Lean tool makes sense to associate with Covid 19. It is a 5S Lean tool. This tool in production and service organizations has the following meaning of each of the first letters of S Japanese words:

English Japanese
Sort Seiri
Set in order Seiton
Shine Sesio
Standardize Seiketsu
Sustain Shitskuke

Covid 19 has negative consequences because it restricts the movement of people outside their apartments. On the other hand, it provides an opportunity for households and institutions to seize the opportunity and improve the landscaping and maintenance of the space in which they live and work. This is an opportunity since there is enough time spent in the home or apartment to sort things that are needed and not sorted. Unnecessary but still usable items can be set aside and donated to those in need. This frees up space in your apartment while helping others.

After sorting and separating what is needed from what is surplus and unnecessarily taking up space, the next step is to “get everything its place, and let everything be in that place.” That means getting things done in the apartment.

The third step in deploying the 5S Lean tool is CLEANING the apartment, house, space where the virus infected rooms are located, or working for administrative staff. The simple question must be asked here: “Is everything clean and disinfected in the space in which we live or in which patients are treated?

The first cleaning removes dirt and greasy surfaces. The next cleaning looks better, and the third cleaning will prepare to disinfect all surfaces. All floors, fittings and also every surface should be disinfected. The whole family is involved in the cleanup if it is an apartment or house, or in charge of cleanliness and the army or police, if it is a health care institution, school, administration, public areas, roads and more. It is the right way to keep something clean while raising awareness about the importance of maintaining the hygiene of the space we live in and of those around us. Thus, it will become a habit, that is, the standardization of jobs around maintaining a clean and tidy space, both by time and by those responsible for certain tasks in that.

Each household member or cleanliness staff in public facilities and public spaces should establish their own measure of what is ‘clean’. Establish a regular schedule for routine cleaning and deep cleaning. Everyone is participating. It’s not just a job for mothers, professional cleaners, communal staff … It’s a job for all members who need to contribute to preventing dirt and pollution. It is understood that everyone is provided with adequate equipment and cleaning products.

In the end, there is only one more obligation for all the people who contribute to ensuring a clean and safe space in which the family lives, in which patients are treated, provided services, public life takes place or production that creates new values takes place. That obligation is to maintain the level of neatness and cleanliness attained, as well as to take every opportunity to raise it to a higher level..

MAINTENANCE is the hardest part of the job. This is not a single activity. We HOLD when we have developed the habits of always using the first 4S together every day. All this ultimately leads to the putting of LEAN CULTURE. Those nations that have reached Lean culture, including China, Japan, South Korea, and some other countries, are likely to cope with the consequences of Covid 19 more easily and painlessly.

One lesson that could be learned from Covid 19, when we hope it ends with as little loss of human life, for states to start thinking about how to transform their societies and embrace LEAN CULTURE and Lean’s way of managing processes, whatever The type of process to do.


In Nis, 03/31/2020.                                         

[1] Vojislav Stoiljkovic, Lean in Healthcared, Lambert, 2018