A Change in Perspective: My CE Class at the Quint Meeting in Denver

One of the reasons I decided to go to the Quint Meeting in Denver was the CE Class, Innovation and Lean Process Improvement Demystified. At Children’s Oakland we have been implementing the Lean Process (aka the Toyota Management System or Kaizen) for about two years. I thought it would be a good idea to get a library perspective on it.

I was surprised and pleased when I found out that the class would be held at the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado in Aurora. I was stationed there January 1982-September 1986, when it was Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, working in the optical lab. I knew Fitzsimons had been closed and that it had been turned into a health sciences center. How different would it be?

I wandered around in the late afternoon Saturday after checking into the hotel. It’s funny, but I forgot how big the place really was. It was a weird feeling to be someplace that was once home, and is now basically foreign. Except for the hospital and golf course, everything I knew is gone.

The library is a three story building, very spacious, well designed and functional, and quite attractive. Our class was in one of the library meeting rooms so we had a chance to explore a little. I must admit to some jealousy…

The class did have a good mix of librarians and most of us were in different places with respect to Lean. The instructors were from Health Sciences Center of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Jean Shipman, director, Eccles Health Sciences Library; Erica Lake, Consumer Health Librarian, University Hospital; and John Langell, surgeon and bioinformationist.

The instructors went over the basics of Lean and the Lean Process and then asked us to use a part of the process (AT-3) to either look at a function in the library or another part of their institution. Two brave souls offered to talk about their processes. The discussion was very good, a lot of ideas came out of it. I realized that what would benefit me is the process called 5-S, which is more about getting and keeping things in order. (This is in my office, by the way, not the library.)

We will be contacted in a couple of months to see what we have done with the Lean process. I hope to be able to give them a good – or at least a fair – report on my own implementation of the Lean process.

So, I’m glad Fitzsimons is being put to good use, and that it looks really nice, architecturally and aesthetically. As for Lean, I’ve been a little cynical about it, but using it to improve how I use my office space will help me be more efficient, which means I can better serve my patrons.