The other day, I spent some time with a group within fulfillment and distribution. Â In speaking with a few of the members of that group, I realized that our process is roughly the same process for admitting patients in an emergency room. Â Then, it dawned on me.
Same Process, Different Context. Â And, Context is Everything.
On the one hand, we were dealing with a receiving function in a fulfillment and distribution center context. Â On the other hand, we’re talking about receiving patients into an emergency room setting. Â Because I have prior experience in continuous improvement in healthcare, I saw the relationship.
What’s the Difference?
Receiving in Fulfillment is about receiving inventory items – stuff. Â Patient admission is about receiving human beings. But, the same steps are involved:
- Who are You? (What are you?)
- What are you identified by? (What is your unique code?)
- What are you described by? Â Color? Â Size? Â Quantity? (What are your symptoms? Â How long have you had them? Â I need your vital signs.)
The big difference is context: Humans versus Things. Â And, context makes a big difference. Â We make a mistake with things, then downstream we might make a mistake on an order. Relatively low risk.
We make a mistake with Humans, people get hurt. Â They might even die.
What about your process?
If you thought about your process from a different context, do you see it differently? Â Do you see opportunities where there were none? Â Can you look at something old, but find something new?