When your practice is about to crash: Pull the ripcord at the right time

In times of chaos and crisis, pulling the ripcord, of course figuratively, may be imperative. But, anyone who might need to pull the ripcord should be able to do so, and for that, an abstract “ripcord” should be available.

In production plants such as car industries, so-called Andon cords, are actually hung above the production line, so that they are easily accessible for all employees at all times, especially when problems arise. At Toyota, the ripcord was in the form of a button, at anyone’s disposal. This allowed them to request immediate assistance, or in the worst-case scenario, halt production lines immediately.

The term “Andon” (translated: “paper lantern) has been adopted to generally visualize the operating status of a machine on so-called “Andon boards” with self-explanatory symptoms, like in a traffic light system:

  • Green = normal operation
  • Yellow = corrections required
  • Red = machine stopped

With the development of these Andon boards, today we are able to access data on the degree of delivery reliability to the customer or the amount of backlog.

Andon boards in orthodontics

In orthodontics, you can implement this concept through a suitable CRM system. You can delegate digital tasks to employees with set deadlines, which according to the traffic signal analogy, sends warnings to those responsible or the next in the hierarchy up to the boss. This system puts an end to the paper chaos in practices, whereby notes written on papers can inevitably get lost.

However, with provisions of the CRM system, you can now digitize your entire practice. All diagnostic documents and invoices are stored and archived securely on the server. Since all employees can gain access to these documents, you no longer have to run after an employee to ask for updates. To make this system even more convenient, you can operate the whole system as an app on your work smartphones.

To hold your employees especially accountable for their duties, make use of the two-minute rule to note which tasks need to be done urgently. This way the traffic signal system allocates a strict deadline and works wonders for your practice where no task is neglected.

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