Process Excellence

Cessa Heinzmann, Manager and Kim Leung, Program Manager

Process Excellence: Empowering innovation in every person, every day  

Stanford Medicine Process Excellence advances the School of Medicine’s transition to a continuous improvement organization by working with teams to discover how to improve the quality and value of our administrative operations.

Our mission is to empower innovation in every person, every day. 


Budget and Financial Planning:
Making the Budget Season Easier!

Last year, the Budget and Financial Planning (BFP) team embarked on a launch to improve the long-range financial forecast process.  The long-range forecast is a complex financial model that provides critical information to our School leadership.  Before the launch, running an instance of the forecast (“a roll-up”) involved linking 20 independent financial models as well as following dozens of auditing steps to ensure all of the calculations accurately flowed through.   More The process was time-consuming and error-prone: a single “roll-up” could take three hours to run and up to three days to complete if an error was detected and needed to be resolved.

“The challenge was [there were] too many models to maintain,” explains Florence Leung, Associate Director of Budget and Financial Planning.  After the launch, the BFP team reduced the number of models by 25% (15 vs. 20 models) and developed a set schedule for roll-ups to occur on a weekly basis.  The key benefits of these improvements were twofold:  first, they allowed the team to spend more time uncovering key insights instead of troubleshooting errors.  Second, they dramatically shortened the turnaround time for creating the forecast, which allowed the team to provide more timely information to the senior leadership.

Since their launch, “Our mindset has shifted to think of ways to continuously improve.  Most of our ideas are generated from our viz board… as we think about [what matters for our] customer,” shares Florence.

The team has focused their sights on other improvement projects.  A recent addition was transitioning the primary budget support system from a call-in “hotline”, staffed on a rotating basis by all team members, to a partner based system where each department has a dedicated member of the Budget and Financial Planning team to answer questions and provide support.  The idea was a hit with DFAs and departmental finance staff: survey results showed 99% of their respondents appreciated the partnership and found it easier to communicate with their dedicated budget partner through multiple channels such as Slack, email, phone, or Zoom.  Way to go BFP!  Excited to see more of your great ideas come to fruition!     



Intro to Process Excellence

All this talk about Lean, and what is it you might ask?  Mass production was developed by Henry Ford in 1913.  He was the first person to truly integrate an entire large scale production process in manufacturing.  Less than twenty-years later, Kiichiro Toyoda applied a series of simple innovations to provide both continuity and process flow inventing the Toyota Production System.  This system shifted the focus of manufacturing engineering from individual machines and their utilization, to the flow of product through the total process forming the five lean principles:

·         The value desired by the customer More 

·         Organize work to deliver value

·         Focus on flow of the work

·         Produce at the rate of customer demand

·         Continuously improve

Lean today continues to spread to every country in the world where leaders are also adapting the tools and principles beyond manufacturing such as healthcare.

How is Lean applied here at Stanford, you ask?  Process Excellence is about a holistic cultural evolution. The Process Excellence group provides the principles of customer focus, alignment, and continuous improvement together to bear results.  The changes come from all levels and are systemic.  The culture is based on respect for people which creates a higher standard, a greater acceptance of experimentation, idea generation, and follow through on those ideas.  When people share ideas and those ideas are followed up with, they then create a virtuous cycle that creates a culture where the workforce is more engaged.  An engaged work environment that generates ideas to continuously improve products or processes for their customers is what Lean is all about.

If you have an improvement idea and not sure where to start- contact us!  The Process Excellence team will help you create value for your customers, be the best at getting better, and foster an environment for improvement while respecting our most value resource- you!

If you’re still unsure about Lean and want to know more, sign up for our Intro to Process Excellence course in December.  Sign up quickly as space is limited. 



Upcoming Workshops

Introduction to Process Excellence: Improvement principles and the Four Key Systems

Date: December 17, 2018 – 1:30PM-2:30PM

Location: 3172 Porter Drive CR2100

During this interactive session, you will learn:

-The principles behind Lean process improvement and how we are applying them at the School of Medicine.

-The 4 Key Systems: How strategy deployment, visual management, daily kaizen and standard follow-up come together to create a culture of daily improvement

-Implementation Roadmap: Overview of the steps a team takes from the launch process through maturing their management system

Click here to register


Speed Scope 1:1 

Have an improvement opportunity but not sure how to start? Connect with us to map out the scope of your improvement! 

-Lean how to your team started on an improvement opportunity through a Launch

-Learn what happens during and after a Launch 

-Leave with a completed Launch scope draft

Email us!  

share with us

Do you have an improvement story or an idea that you or your team implemented? What are some of the big wins? Who did this impact? We want to feature your story here- email us

Coming up

Dec 17: Introduction to Process Excellence: Improvement Principles and the Four Key Systems (Sign up here)



Interested in a Launch?

I’m interested in using the launch process to help my team solve a problem.

Step 1: Are you a member of the Stanford School of Medicine?

Step 2: Start with a problem facing your team. Typically, this would be an area in where there is a gap between expectations and results.

Step 3: Discuss with your manager or leader, and contact us to determine if this would be a fit for a launch—usually a three-day event that focuses your team and customers on targeted improvements.

Step 4: We will work with your Team Leads/Managers to produce a scope document that sets goals aimed at significantly reducing your gap. The launch would then be scheduled, team members would be named, and facilitators and resources would be secured.

Step 5: The launch itself is attended by your team and a team leader; all participants collaboratively map the current and desired/future processes, along with issues and ideas for improvement. The final day includes a report out to your sponsors.

Step 6: After the launch, there are 30, 60, and 90-day report outs.