Just about everything’s been built with LEGO® blocks – from pianos and cell phones to space shuttles and Lady Liberty. While it’s unlikely a LEGO car or stethoscope would pass safety inspection, GM and Georgia’s Wellstar Health System have found a way to put LEGO fun to practical good use in automotive program management and health care facilities.
Called 3-D Visualization, the system helps automakers and health care providers better meet the needs of their customers and patients through improved organization. Built on GM’s Problem Resolution Tracking System, when an issue is identified on a test vehicle, a color-designated LEGO block goes on a LEGO board. The block size denotes severity; the bigger the block, the bigger the problem.
Each block has an identification number and date of discovery, and the board shows its progress from root cause to solution to outcome. This allows a more holistic approach to addressing the problem, as it’s easier to see its entire scope. Unlike a line of data in a spread sheet, actually seeing the problem on a board is a strong motivator for finding a solution.
3-D Visualization reduces by 33 percent the amount of time it takes GM to implement a change that would prevent future warranty repairs, while Wellstar projects a $1 million per-year cost saving through the system’s improving patient care, staff Medicaid and Medicare credentialing and fundraising management.
GM and Wellstar’s collaboration began when GM’s crossover team invited Wellstar’s head of Emergency to give a presentation about triage practices as part of a GM leadership mentoring program. Later, GM donated a simulated assembly line to Wellstar’s training center for doctors and nurses to learn how to apply Lean methodologies to healthcare practices such as medication disbursement.
While 3-D Visualization has the potential to be an invaluable tool for a wide variety of organizations, the automotive and health care industries will be first to greet their problems with a new mantra: There’s a brick for that.