Exposed: the bottleneck in administration

Perpetuating order in the workspace is a prerequisite for running your business smoothly. Amidst all the technical jargon, it is easy to veer away from the lean principles especially when you’re dealing with administration and the chaos it truly is.

It’s the end of another busy working day, and even though you came into the office early and left late, and your employees swarmed the place like worker bees all day, you still feel like you haven’t accomplished anything significant. It is easy to get lost in the disarray, be busy all day and not make any progress on high-priority projects and goals.

This is why scheduling your time properly is so important. In fact, scheduling is an essential part of the Kanban organization in the working game plan of any practice.

  • What types of appointments do you set?
  • How long do you need for each type of appointment, including preparation and follow-up?
  • For which times of the day or on which days of the week do you assign which appointments?

These are questions that need clarity in your practice in order to eliminate the festering sepsis of bottleneck.

Battling bottleneck in administration

Challenges in the administration can slow down your practice. You can optimize the workflow by taking these tips into account:

  1. Make use of digital index cards and associated calendar systems to help organize your tasks. By color-coding each individual appointment, you can easily comprehend what needs to be done during the day or the next day.
  2. Assign certain activities to certain parts of the day. Very long appointments, such as meetings or the insertion and removal of fixed appliances, are preferably done in the morning. This way, you can still tend to the majority of your patients, like the schoolchildren for their regular short check-ups in the afternoon after school.
  3. Schedule emergency appointments at times that are less likely to be used for check-ups. In this way, you get an evenly loaded daily routine.
  4. Allot themes to certain days such as diagnostic or prophylaxis days. This can be especially helpful if you work as a general dentist in addition to orthodontics.

Remember the principle of the waiting room where you took a counterintuitive approach to temporarily work in only one treatment room despite the traffic jam in the waiting room? Apply that here to eliminate even the smallest waste and create a pull system with even, fast flow without bottlenecks.

This rather obscure yet effective finding was unearthed by a group of scientists during a study conducted by the London transport company. They discovered that a fully occupied escalator, contrary to the well-known rule: stand right, walk left – makes more sense if all users stand close together. This is because then more people can get to their destination faster, hence existing capacities are used more effectively.
You can find a similar example in the novel “The Goal” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt19 that identities strategies of process optimization. It deals with a manager who, in an attempt to save a company stumbles upon a teaching moment as displayed by the scouts where a group of children progresses faster when the slowest child hands over his luggage to the others and walks ahead.

When things get hectic, don’t go chasing action and haste. Instead, try and minimize the quantity of waste: waiting time, traveling time, superfluous movements and optimize the workflow.

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