Province of Saskatchewan Adopt a Culture of Lean

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health decided to launch lean to improve their internal operations with a focus on bringing value to customers and improve the work life for staff.

Vaccines are centrally managed by the Ministry of Health. The team identified costs associated with waste from expired product and exposure to unsafe temperatures totalled almost 7% of the total vaccine budget in 2008-09. The team has targeted a 50% reduction in this wastage. Already, the team has reduced inventory on hand by 14%.

They also recognized quickly that the value stream did not end at the door, but actually extended into the health region and beyond. They invited a region representative to join their team and have implemented a pilot project to test their improvement initiatives in this region. Through their improvements, inventory counts that took almost 2 days to complete now take 2 hours (involve 2 staff / once per month to meet audit requirements). This team reduced the number of “touch points” for the vaccines as they travel to the clinics where they are administered to patients by removing non-value added steps. 

Provincial Lab – Inventory Management
Expired, unnecessary items in inventory (Just in Case)20% reduction in inventory; consistent ordering matched to demand (Just in Time)
3 storage areas for inventory (two overflow)1 overflow returned to office space (40 sq m / $7200 annualized savings in space)
Unsafe supplies in inventoryE.g., Expired and powdered (banned) gloves removed (avoids medical errors and improves staff safety)
Time-consuming, manual inventory counts; cumbersome / untrusted spreadsheetsVisual re-order system
Everyday supplies located 340 steps from technicians; 15 minutes to replenish5S allowed supplies to be at work stations – 2 minutes to replenish supplies

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