Service Industry Lean Manufacturing – Implementation Guide

Non-manufacturing industries have not embraced lean manufacturing to the same extent as those producing a product. Some service industries have found the same principles apply, although the use of lean manufacturing tools is different.

For example, a value added analysis is just as easily conducted with a worker talking on the telephone as someone using one.

The 5S tool can be used to organize the surroundings in the telemarketing office. All materials the telemarketer uses should be organized and within reach without having leave the area. This 5S organization enables the telemarketer to continuously utilize any material in front of them as well as keep an eye on a computer.

The same SMED tools can be used with a administrative assistant as a machine operator. The process map and movement will show the waste in each. The assistant’s travel shows the motion waste. The waiting waste is often huge in any white collar or service job. For example, the waste from waiting on a colleague, manager, supplier, or anyone else can be eliminated. There are ways to minimize it by removing the root cause as well as finding activities to fill the time. These activities should be of short duration, such as data entry, filing, or printing.

Line balancing is easy in a service environment. The key is flexibility. For example, two tellers at a bank may be required 6 out of 8 hours per day, but the trained lean expert or industrial engineer is required to notice it. The additional two hours of waste comes in buckets of 1-2 minutes throughout the day. Again, this time must be filled with value added activities in a standard work format. If the job isn’t standardized, the two individuals may absorb the time and appear 100% busy. There are many other instances where job combinations are obvious.

The value stream map is an excellent tool for service industries. Rather than the traditional macro level view of the system, the value stream map can be used in a department or area of the business. An example would be the service desk at a department store. Begin with the information flow and trigger for activity, which might be a customer. Break the map into various segments showing the few activities that comprise 90% of the work, such as returned goods, request for information, or complaints. Standardized Operations should be utilized for returned goods to minimize motion and waiting, such as a decision flow diagram. If the manager is called a large percentage of the time, the decision flow diagram needs improved. Obviously the 5S and SMED tools are also relevant, as well as root cause problem solving to eliminate the complaints.

Service industries often use kanbans without knowing it, such as ordering supplies. The same pull systems can be used in service industries as the manufacturing sector. The supply distribution center is one obvious example. Inventory waste can be eliminated using pull systems beginning with the end downstream customer.

When implementing lean manufacturing in a service industry, it is important to tailor the training to the business. Most SMED (single minute exchange of die) training is developed using examples of setup activities for equipment. It is easier for people to understand and see the waste in their processes when the training has obvious applicability.

One of the best long term lean manufacturing tools to apply in a service industry is the kaizen event. Kaizen means “incremental improvement” in Japanese. The kaizen team is comprised of a cross functional team developed to quickly and substantially improve a business issue. For example, a kaizen might be developed to reduce hospital check in time for testing. The team might include the individuals conducting the check-in, a nurse, manager, an IT representative, and a couple customers. If the average check in time is 35 minutes (the elapsed time from walking into the building until seated in a private room), the kaizen objective might be to reduce the check in time to 20 minutes within 5 days.

Cellular manufacturing can be used in many service businesses. Rather than placing individual pieces of equipment such as the postage meter, copier, fax, and file drawer throughout the area for everyone to use (and wait on), consider placing these items together in a U shaped cell to minimize movement.

The “One Piece Flow” concept is a great tool for processing items such as quotes, bills, or mail pieces. For example, if four people must review a quote, and the first person processes 500 prior to moving to the second individual, and so on, the cycle time is going to be very long. Also, if the fourth person notices a mistake the other three missed, all 500 are bad and much labor was spent unnecessarily. Moving the piece in a flow of “one” or in small batches minimizes the error cost and reduces cycle time.

Service industries have a terrific opportunity to reduce waste. Sometimes it is simple and obvious, while other times it takes the same creativity as in the factory.

Medical Assistant 101 – Duties And Responsibilities of Medical Assistants

Curious about what Medical Assisting is? Well, it is one of the fastest growing careers nowdays. Experts say that this job will be the most promising for the next ten years because of the technological advancement in the medical field and the increased number of people in need of medical treatments.

Becoming a medical assistant is very easy for it only requires a high school diploma or a GED equivalent and there is no formal education or training requirements needed unlike other career such as nursing. Aspiring MA must only undergo programs which will only take six months to two years to complete.

Program courses include medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. Students are also taught to have the knowledge on keyboarding, recordkeeping, accounting, insurance processing and transcription. Moreover, students learn some laboratory techniques, pharmaceutical principles, clinical procedures as well as diagnostic procedures.

Program courses are specifically designed to give them a broad perspective in medical field to help them perform their task efficiently and effectively. This is because their nature of work is to perform or to keep medical establishments organized and to keep it running smoothly. Moreover, since they will always interact in almost all people in the hospitals even with the patients, their program courses also include patient relations, ethics and medical laws.

Medical assistant is different from a physician assistant or a nurse. Physician assistants perform medicine or treat patients with the supervision of doctors while MAs are to perform both clinical and clerical tasks.

Generally a medical assistant handles administrative duties and or clinical duties.

1. Administrative Duties and Responsibilities

– Answering telephone calls
– Greet and assist patients
– Appointment scheduling
– Do patient's billing
– Bookkeeping
– Handling correspondence
– Filing and updating patient's medical records
– Handles insurance forms
– Arranging hospital admissions
– Assisting in laboratory services

2. Clinical Duties and Responsibilities
– Taking patient's medical history
– Recording patient's vital signs
– Preparing patients for medical examinations
– Assisting doctors during medical examinations
– Explaining to patients the procedures
– Collects and prepares the laboratory specimens
– Purchasing medical supplies and equipment
– Disposing of contaminated medical supplies
– Preparing medical instruments
– Making sure that hospital rooms such as waiting rooms and examination rooms are clean and tidy

In some hospitals medical assistants are allowed, under the supervision of doctors to perform basic medical tasks such as:
– Basic laboratory tests
– Prepare medicines and administrator medications
– Instructing patients in taking medications and some diets
– Drug refills
– Draw blood
– Changing of dressings
– Removing sutures

With these large scope of duties and responsibilities, medical assistants should be well-organized and can do multi-tasking at the same time. They must also have pleasant personality and must be good communicators for they must make the patients feel comfortable and at ease before and or during examination. Moreover, they must be neat and well groomed for they should look presentable when dealing with patients.

Duties and responsibilities of medical assistants vary depending on the hospitals they work. In small hospitals or clinics that are to perform both administrative and clinical duties while in large hospitals where there are other medical staff, they are encouraged to perform specific tasks under the supervision of the department administrators.

Regardless where medical assistants work, they are very useful in helping other healthcare workers to perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently. As a result, the increased needs of people's medical attention are met through them.

Best Online Food Ordering System – Restaurant Checklist

Choosing the best online ordering system will be easier if you have a checklist to go by, so you can use this to help you!

What may be the best for you, may not be not the best for someone else. And what may be the best for someone else, may not be the best for you.

From a computer programming point of you, the best is one that is totally customized to your needs and no one elses … period. But this can be very expensive, so it is not really an option for most restaurateurs.

-Ask if they have any experience with this type of system being installed on different food service businesses. If it is based on past experience then chances are you are benefiting from their real world experience and you benefit from their system design based on their past experience.

-Simple to navigate, not cluttered and easy to order quickly with out too much trying to figure out how to order online.

-Professional looking and not cheesy looking.

-The option to integrate with your website if you already have one, or one one that allows you to customize it for your own look and appeal.

-Easy for you to change, add, delete your online menu at will that is not dependent on someone else that will charge you each time they make a change for you.

-A online ordering system that can be search engine optimized otherwise it is not worth it. This is a critical component in allowing you to get free organic traffic from the search engines.

24-hour support imperative

-Whom ever sells you the system find out if he or she knows anything about search engine optimization, or how to get traffic to your site this is worth in the $ 1000's of dollars and if he or she can consult you in this area, you are at an advantage if you purchase from him or her that can assist you with quickly understanding insider secrets that are very expensive to get. This individual is very valuable. He or she can help you make more money and save money by consulting you for free.

-Secure payment Gateways with options to protect your customers credit card information, when they order online from your website.

-Ask if your customers credit information is not stored anywhere, it is deleted so not to compromise any of your customers credit card personal information.

-Quick and simple tracking ordering system to allow you to track your orders.

-Will your system information be backed up, if so how often.

-One that search engine optimization has been applied from the beginning if not later on is ok, but better sooner then later.

-A back office support system that allows you to maximize your online ordering system, allows to track all of your sales history so you can analyze what is selling online and is not.
-One that the system can grow with your growth, and handle the bandwidth being used up if you start getting a lot of traffic.

-Real-time database generation, that will allow you to tap into consumer behavior and ordering patterns, which may give you some ideas on how to market better to them.

-Friendly but comprehensive sales reports are critical to have, does it offer this.

Copyright @ 2008

The History of the Tracfone Company

Tracfone, which is now one of the top 10 cellular providers in the US [as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands], has had an interesting history, as companies go. The company first made their mark in 1996, under the name Topp Telecom, Inc. Within a few years, they found themselves being supported by Mexican company Telmex, who bought a controlling interest [55%] in the company. By 2000, the company was split from Telmex, and began to grow exponentially, after taking on the name Tracfone. The company expanded its market share and began to bring in more business as the days went by.

Tracfone is now one of the biggest prepaid wireless companies in the United States. Because they enable users to buy prepaid minutes on a wide variety of phones [including hot brands such as LG, Motorola, Nokia, and Kyocera] they have become an excellent option for people who do not want to deal with the hassles of credit checks and long-term contracts with phone companies. This accounts for much of Tracfone’s success.

Unlike some prepaid cellular services – especially those in the past – Tracfone enables people to use some of the most popular phones and have all the options that a cell phone user with a standard-issue binding contract would have. As such, the company has built its stellar reputation on this. Nobody wants an inferior phone simply because they chose to use pre-paid services rather than be tied to a contract for anywhere from 12-24 months – or more.

In addition to being popular in the United States market, Tracfone dominates Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Further, they are the most popular cellular provider in Latin America. With nearly 10 million customers and an always-growing, eager customer base, it is no surprise that the company has enjoyed so much success and continues to grow every year.

Tracfone actually provides two services – Tracfone and Net10. The two services are provided by the same company, with the same quality, though Net10 only offers GSM and CDMA services as of now. The company is expanding both of these services, as well as their TDMA service, despite most customers migrating to the former two.

Depending on the service that a Tracfone user chooses, as well as the specific phone they purchase, there are different deals that can be obtained by Tracfone customers. Some people who buy a plan with Tracfone will enjoy free text messaging, while others will pay a few cents per text. It is important to look at the fine details and choose a phone and plan that will work best for your needs. If you frequently text people, those few cents per text could add up, and it would be in your best interest to invest in a phone that enables you to text for free.

As you can see, Tracfone is a company that many people have come to rely on, and it is also a company with flexible options. It is the perfect choice for someone who wants a cell phone, but isn’t ready to commit a huge amount of money or time to a specific company, as Tracfone’s pre-paid plans do not require a contract. People can buy minutes for the phone based on both days of service as well as increments of time. This flexibility allows people to choose what sort of plan will best suit them and their specific needs as a customer. This is definitely part of what attracts people to Tracfone, and why the company has so many loyal customers. Their innovative way of dealing with cellular users by giving them many options is an excellent way for them to continue to grow and profit as a company.