Midland Community Pharmacy Group

Lean

Lean and Midland Community Pharmacy Group (MidCPG) 

MidCPG started adopting a Lean philosophy well over 3 years ago when Cath Knapton (CEO) was involved in an EOI called "Better, Sooner, More Convenient Health Care" which was an initiative with Midland Health Network. 

Since the inception of this EOI, MidCPG has been committed to incorporating Kaizen or "Lean" philosophy into the immediate business environment and processes. 

More recently and as part of MidCPG's overarching strategy, a great deal of work has gone into extending this by developing and sharing Lean core principles with Community Pharmacy so that business owners and employees can learn skills to adapt and improve their working environments. 

Kylie Engebretsen, Operations Manager and Lean Champion for MidCPG (Kaizen Institute trained) works tirelessly to develop and improve processes and standardisation at a corporate level, as well as now sharing knowledge and experiences with Community Pharmacy members of MidCPG. 

MidCPG underwent an introductory pilot project at Te Aroha Unichem Pharmacy and Te Aroha Medical Centre Pharmacy, where teams were introduced to and trained in, the initial concepts of Kaizen or Lean. 

What is Lean?

Lean is a business culture characterised by the endless pursuit of the elimination of waste. 

History of Lean 

Lean or Kaizen, are both words to describe a performance tool for business improvement. Kaizen is Japanese for "improvement", or "change for the better" and refers to practices that focus on continuous improvement in all areas of business management. Kaizen thinking began with the Toyota Production System, which transformed car manufacturing in post-war Japan. In the western world Kaizen is referred to as "Lean". Now days Lean has been applied in healthcare, manufacturing, government, banking, and other major industries. 

By creating standardised processes, Lean can ultimately be used in the Heath sector as a patient-focused approach to identify and eliminate non-value added activities and reduce waste within an organisation. 

Why Lean in Pharmacy? 

Recent changes to the DHB Pharmacy Services Agreement and with contract obligations, increased health burden, and pressures associated with running a successful business model, has in some instances created challenges for Pharmacists. 

To help alleviate some of these challenges Community Pharmacists need to consider amending the way they work and how the work is done, in order to fully optimise business potential and provide the best health outcomes for patients. 

By adopting simple lean concepts we may improve:  

  • Problem solving techniques 
  • Management skills    
  • Staff mentoring and development  
  • Reduction of wastes 
  • Processes and optimisation of resources 
  • Patient and customer experiences 
  • Clinical Services 
  • Business development and growth