Hello and Welcome to Lean!

Hello and Welcome to Lean!

If you’re reading this, you must be curious about what Lean is and what we can do with it in the veterinary world. Maybe you’ve heard of it already or perhaps it means nothing at all.

So what is Lean? In a nutshell, it’s a tool set, a management system and a philosophy that can change the way veterinary practices are organised and managed. It was first developed by Toyota way back in the 1940s revolutionising the way it manufactured its vehicles. Since then, Lean has found its way into many other industries including non-automative industries such as healthcare.

But how can a car manufacturing system be relevant in non-manufacturing industries? Because every type of organisation should be concerned with cash flow, customer satisfaction and quality, and the Lean methodology addresses each of these regardless of industry and sector.

It’s fair to say there has perhaps only been a lukewarm reception for Lean in the veterinary industry so far and only across the Pond in the States to any extent. But the veterinary world has never been the greatest at adopting the latest and best business and management practices, often lagging behind other sectors by many decades!

The work of Mark Graban and Chip Ponsford has, in the last couple of years, raised more awareness of how we can be using Lean in our businesses and I would encourage you to visit their blog site leanvets.com. And some years ago, I also wrote a series of articles introducing some Lean concepts and their practical uses in everyday veterinary practice available to read in my “Outside-In” column.

That’s enough for now except to say that over the coming months we’ll hopefully build this site into a Lean veterinary practice community with examples of Lean concepts in veterinary practice, some how-to’s, and even some CPD courses. Your comments are always welcome and if anyone is using any aspects of Lean in their practice, please let us know!

Christian Bamber