Healthcare Guest Blog from Array Architects

Co-Authors:

Florangela Papa, LEED AP – Project Architect and Planner, Array Architects

Ryan Keszczyk – Intern Architect, Array Architects

Array Logo Lockup-Inline_CMYK-01We are Healthcare Architects.  When designing for the healthcare industry, we must respond to the increasing complexity of demands and restrictions based on spacing limitations, budgets, and resources.  As our healthcare clients adapt to their changing needs and experience a shift in operations and process, we needed to find a way to use real-time information and data to generate both tangible and quantifiable statistics that could be used to steer design.  These criteria led us to search for new tools that would allow us to analyze this data in a way that could improve our design process.  Simulation modeling is a tool that has drastically impacted the design process, increasing the value, flexibility, and quality of our designs while staying within the confines and restrictions of each individual project.  The once static historical data on spreadsheets and charts can now be analyzed in a visually dynamic way.  Using this technology we are able to visually see system bottlenecks and flawed areas of the process that have the most potential to improve the design, all in a virtual environment, before the project is too far along in the design process.  With simulation we can:

-Analyze existing conditions and identify areas within the project scope that need development and offer the most value and improvement to the facility.

-Create project specific analyses and solutions that become the guiding force of a design, rather than using standard baseline benchmarks.

-Identify and analyze system flows and processes that can be improved with the introduction of lean design practices.

-Quickly test different scenarios which give the client the ability to weigh the outcomes and make an informed and confident decision.

Simulation modeling is used in early stages of design to influence programmatic developments.  For example, using simulation modeling we are able to specifically calculate the number of patient rooms a department may need to minimize wait time and further improve quality of care.  Through the modeling process we are able to ensure that the critical elements are precise, not just for a typical day, but have the ability to perform in  “worst case scenario” circumstances.   With the broad scope of a project determined, modeling can be used at a focused scale to evaluate the inter-dependencies of individual elements within the system and influence the design accordingly (i.e. patient room flow, nurse station flow, etc.)

Simulation Modeling is often considered both an art and a science.  Models can be developed to produce extremely rigorous and complex systems, but also need to strike the right balance of simplicity and usefulness.  As architects we needed a simple tool that could give us the benefits of simulation, without requiring too extensive of a statistics and engineering expertise – this isn’t our strength, nor is it how we are compensated.  After evaluating different software, Array selected ProModel’s Process Simulator because:

– It has a user-friendly interface with visually dynamic graphics.

– ProModel offers effective training and tutorials backed by great technical support

– There is a variety of graphics (graphs, charts, histograms, time plots) that are easily customizable to meet the needs of the project through the output viewer.

– The software has the ability to create simple or complex models, which allows the flexibility to model for a variety of project types.  We are able manage many projects on our own, but can also team with ProModel’s experts as we tackle more complex problems.

 

Portfolio Scheduler To Be Introduced at Microsoft Project Conference 2014

Portfolio Scheduler is a new and exciting Enterprise Portfolio Simulator (EPS) feature that helps organizations make better decisions by facilitating rapid what-if scenario development.  ProModel is proud to introduce this new feature at Microsoft Project Conference 2014 #ProjConf.  After you simulate a Portfolio in EPS, you can simply visualize the portfolio in a single view. See the impact of projects schedules on your constrained resources.  More work than your resources can handle? Click and drag to change project schedules.

MS Conf 2014 Blog Post Ellen - pic

Please view this short video demonstrating Portfolio Scheduler

EPS Product Summary:

Click to access EPS%20Product%20explanation.pdf

Microsoft Project Conference 2014 (February 2-5):

http://www.msprojectconference.com/

ProModel on The Lean Nation

ProModel’s Bruce Gladwin (V.P., Consulting) and Dave Tucker (Director, LSS Initiatives) join web and radio host Karl Wadensten on “The Lean Nation” to discuss the benefits of ProModel Simulation in lean initiatives.  Enjoy!

Probing LEAN Space with Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker – Director, LSS Initiatives
Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt

Most companies have the same basic question they are trying to answer from a model project.  How can I make more stuff quicker?  Whether it is manufacturing, government, healthcare, or most any other industry, they all want to get more items through their processes faster and often they want to do it with fewer resources.  That’s the climate we are in now.  Everyone has to do more with less.

I have observed that many problems in Manufacturing can be directly attributed to having too much WIP.  Excess WIP inventory ties up money, creates the need for storage, increases cycle time, reduces throughput, and wastes Resources time.  But Managers want to keep everyone busy so they allow more work to be introduced into their systems instead of looking for Lean ways to better manage the “pull” of work.  Companies that learn to control the amount of WIP to meet their orders always do better financially then other companies that continually flood the workplace with inventory.

So I get excited when a model shows some new information that a company has never seen or understood before.  When they can see the process waste, understand how to remove it and implement the plan – that’s a great thing.

Check out Dave’s work on the Space Shuttle Program with United Space Alliance and NASA…. 

ABOUT DAVE

Dave Tucker is ProModel’s Director of Lean Six Sigma (LSS) Initiatives and also serves as a Senior Management Consultant and Project Manager.  He assists our clients primarily by providing simulation training, model consulting services, and LSS implementation advice.  Prior to joining ProModel, Dave was the Lead Lean Six Sigma (L6S) Master Black Belt at United Space Alliance (USA), located at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.  USA is the prime contractor to NASA responsible for the Space Shuttle Program.

Dave has over 25 years’ experience leading teams, mentoring employees, solving problems, conducting training, and improving operations. He has led more than forty Kaizen Events, completed dozens of process simulation modeling projects, conducted hundreds of training sessions, facilitated over two hundred Belts & Team Leaders, and assisted with the implementation of numerous process improvements saving millions of dollars.

Dave has an extensive background in numerous process improvement tools utilized in Lean Six Sigma DMAIC & DMEDI approaches, as well as Kaizen team methods and process simulation modeling.  He has about 14 years’ experience using ProModel process simulation modeling tools for process improvement.  In addition, he is a sought after speaker and has made many well-received presentations at Process Improvement, Simulation, Industrial Engineering, and Aerospace Conferences.  He has a BSBA in Management from the University of Central Florida.  Dave is a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a Certified Master Black Belt.

Happy Holidays!

Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas – ProModel President & CEO

The ProModel family would like to wish everyone a very joyous holiday season and a prosperous 2014!  We thank you for all your support and business in 2013.  As always, our goal is to help you meet or exceed your performance goals.  We hope that our people and solutions were able to assist you in that endeavor this past year.

2013 was a banner year for ProModel as we celebrated 25 years of providing solutions that improve performance for companies and organizations all around the world.  We allowed ourselves a little time for celebration and reflection on this amazing milestone, but continued to keep up the pace with a host of new releases, updates, custom solutions and a brand new website.  Looking to the future, 2014 will be another exciting year as we plan to launch new products and improve our current solutions.

As for the next 25 years?  We’ll continue doing what we do best…developing innovative and collaborative predictive analytic solutions to help our customers make better decisions faster!

Thank you and I wish you and your families a happy holiday and joyful New Year.

Ready to Turn Pro?

Get ready for quicker, easier model building with PCS Pro – a brand new level of Process Simulator combining its original ease of use with an enhanced feature set enabling faster model building, more complex processes and improved model maintainability.

Contact your ProModel Rep at 888.900.3090 or email us at pcspro@promodel.com for more information.

 

 

Nurturing an Empowered Decision Making Culture with Portfolio Management

Orange Cathy

Cathy Liggett – Sales Director, PPM Solutions

I’ve had hundreds of conversations with Innovation Teams across the US, and this is the relationship that seems to be the least understood. Yes, we woman love to talk about relationships, and men seem to turn us off even before we get started, but this is one relationship we can’t afford to ignore.  More portfolio management initiatives fail because of this relationship, than for any other reason as far as I’m concerned. I’ve seen it, and watched others live through it―failed empowerment can be devastating.

In the book titled, The Three Keys to Empowerment, the authors state that “involving employees in an empowered culture allows them to use their knowledge, experience, and internal motivation to accomplish tasks for the organization.” Most leaders believe this. The difficulty everyone experiences is that talking about empowerment is lots easier than creating a culture where the empowered decision making processes can prosper. Yes, empowerment is meaningless, unless it’s used in context of decision making… Ops, another relationship, like I said, it’s hard for us gals.

Portfolio Management is a decision making tool that can be used up and down the Innovation Value Chain. It’s a tool that nurtures the culture where “the empowered decision making processes can prosper.” Recently, I was at the Gartner PPM Summit 2013, and most of the people I spoke with stated that they enjoyed the Summit, but the most common critique was “Yes, we know what needs to be done, but how?” Let me share with you how portfolio management nurtures the decision making process.

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There are five conditions required for portfolio management:

  1. There must be a list or set of alternatives to choose from.
  2. There must be a prioritized list of selection criteria.
  3. There must be specified metrics to measure the quantities of alternatives matching the selection criteria.
  4. There must be a set of predetermined portfolio thresholds that constrain the portfolio and cause limitations. In a constraint free environment, you’d select everything, and there would be no need for decisions.
  5. Insight into resource availability or needs. Unless you have the power to make your decisions real, your portfolio decisions are in vain.

Each of these conditions helps empower the decision maker, and nurtures the innovation culture.

Decisions about the market evidence portfolio and balancing the sources of evidence are portfolio management activities within the Innovation Value Chain.

  • Determining what problem statements produce a balanced set of business opportunities, with the greatest reward potential, to the market and to the stakeholders, is a portfolio decision.
  • Identifying a set of product features in a roadmap that stay within business constraints is a portfolio management problem.
  • Determining what requirements should be placed in a product launch, to provide the greatest value to the market, within current resource availability, is a portfolio problem.

These are all examples of how portfolio management empowers the innovation team to make command level decisions.

Shell game scam

With choice, comes the ability to experience the consequences of our choices. If after the innovation team makes a choice, some “other agency” nullifies their decisions, did the team really have a choice? I think not. But how, how can that “other agency” trust the innovation team to make the decisions they would?

In portfolio management, formally stated selection criteria and thresholds are used to represent that “other agency”, and provide a method of delegating values and motives to the decision makers. They form a set of guidelines that empower the decision makers to make decisions which represent the values and motives of that “other agency.” It’s a mechanism used to transfer authority. I should now identify that “other agency,” as the stakeholders of the innovation initiative.

If the stakeholders of the innovation initiative desire an empowered culture that uses their knowledge, experience, and internal motivation to accomplish new innovative solutions which satisfy market needs then, they need to provide the selection criteria and performance thresholds required in portfolio management decision making. Too many times this isn’t provided, and portfolio management practices are abandoned.

If the stakeholders have a tool like ProModel’s EPS, and use it to establish meaningful selection criteria, profitable performance thresholds, and efficient resource utilization plans, the empowerment of the Innovation Team is simple. Portfolio management can truly nurture the innovation culture, and become the powerful decision making tool it should be, from strategy development, opportunity selection, roadmapping, and all the way down to the day-to-day decision points throughout the Innovation Value Chain.

For more from Cathy:  thesalesgal.com

ProModel 25th Anniversary Message from Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas

Keith Vadas – ProModel President & CEO

ProModel opened its doors in Orem Utah in 1988 thanks to Dr. Charles Harrell’s vision to provide an easy to use and affordable simulation toolset for non-programmers that could run on standard PC’s.  Fast forward 25 years and it’s remarkable to see how ProModel has grown from a small company based on a single innovative simulation software product to an organization with a global presence and diverse solutions servicing virtually every industry from Government and Manufacturing to Healthcare and Academia.

It’s truly a success story.  And it’s no secret that our success is all due to the talented professionals, both within our loyal customer base and the ProModel family, who are dedicated to the concept of improvement.  So                                               I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for 25 great years!

Here at ProModel, we’re already looking into a future filled with great promise and opportunity for growth, and we continue to strive in developing innovative and collaborative solutions to help our customers make better decisions faster and create their own success story.

Visit our special 25th Anniversary Page and view a Timeline of ProModel History:

http://www.promodel.com/25/

25 Years and Climbing

Charles Harrell, Founder ProModel Corporation

Charles Harrell, Founder ProModel Corporation

A few Saturdays ago my wife and I went on a half-day hike up Millcreek Canyon east of Salt Lake City with our daughter, her husband, and their four children, ages three, seven (twins) and nine. It was the first time we had been on this hike and didn’t know exactly what to expect, but we were prepared with food, drinks, sunscreen, good hiking shoes, and basic first-aid items. We were excited for the challenge and adventure, but harsh reality soon set in as the hike was long and hot, and some parts of the trail were quite steep and rocky. The first leg was up Rattlesnake Gulch (named for the frequent sightings of this reptile), and was the roughest part of the hike. There were a few cuts and scratches incurred along the way, but nothing that a band-aid and a little sympathy couldn’t take care of.

1The kids proved to be real troupers (though not without frequent coaxing and piggyback riding) and were always anxious to see what was around the next bend. Sometimes it was a mountain stream or occasional deer or interesting rock formation. Sometimes we made a wrong turn and we had to backtrack to get back on course. Eventually, we made it to the anticipated overlook point where we had a panoramic view of the Salt Lake Valley. With a big sigh of relief, we plopped down on a rock, broke out the now flattened sandwiches and warm drinks, and took in the view. The view of the valley and surrounding mountains was spectacular and we all had a sense of accomplishment as we talked and laughed about the adventurous hike getting there.

2

In many ways, I feel a similar sense of marvel and accomplishment as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of ProModel. When I approached two of my graduate students in August 1988 with a set of 5¼ inch floppy disks containing the DOS version of ProModel (written in Turbo Pascal) and accompanying user’s guide (written in WordStar), we set out to revolutionize the use of simulation in the business world by introducing the first graphically oriented simulation tool for desktop computers.

Little did we imagine how difficult the journey would be as we tried to break into the simulation marketplace. One veteran in the industry (who later ended up as a ProModel employee) advised against entering the simulation market as it was already saturated. Undeterred by our inexperience (or lack of good sense), we set up business in the basement of a small dental building that had only two rooms, one of which housed an air compressor that pulsated loudly whenever the dentist drilled. The explanation to customers on the phone was usually, “Sorry! But there’s construction going on next door. Can you talk a little louder?” With determined perseverance, we gradually developed a loyal customer base and built a professional sales and support team that had a good grasp of customer needs. We were all convinced that we offered a unique product—a simulation tool that was developed and supported by engineers and specifically designed for engineers. Keith Vadas, our current CEO, was one of those early recruits, and he continues to keep the various ProModel product teams grounded in the tradition of ensuring our products and services meet real customer needs.

Each new product or product feature introduced over the years was developed in collaboration with our customers to ensure it met their specific needs and helped them be more effective in their work. Along our journey we made the discovery that ProModel was well-suited for healthcare applications since a hospital turned out to be essentially just a large job shop. The hospital administrator we sold the first license to requested only that we change the name “part” to the current name “entity.” (They also winced at the term “scrap” when applied to patients who didn’t make it through the system.) So ProModel became the first to offer a healthcare simulator. There were other “firsts” to follow including the first (true) Windows-based simulation product, the first simulation product to include optimization, the first enterprise portfolio simulation tool, the first global synchronization tool for military personnel and assets, and the first to host its products in the cloud. We are honored by the numerous recognitions we have received over the years including Microsoft’s distinguished partnership awards and the recent high accolades from the DoD.

In addition to the impressive growth in ProModel’s predictive simulation technology, it has also been gratifying to see the breadth of application of our technology, not just in fortune 500 companies, but also in the area of healthcare, education, homeland security, military readiness and humanitarian aid. As we have expanded into each of these areas, we have added individuals with expertise in each of them to better service our customers and understand their unique requirements. (For now, Kurt Shampine is filling in as our hog and chicken expert.) We have also engaged international distributers led by Rob Bateman, creating ProModel users in most major countries of the world.

This, in broad strokes, is a brief sketch of ProModel’s 25-year history. It highlights what I believe has made ProModel such a distinguished provider of predictive analytic, simulation solutions. And now, after pausing to reflect on the accomplishments of so many individuals over the past quarter century, I can only say, I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend—the one just up ahead.

3

Fast Food Drive-Thru, 2 lanes faster than 1?

Dan Hickman

Dan Hickman – ProModel Chief Technology Officer

Have you noticed that many of the new fast food restaurants have 2 drive-thru lanes.  My first experience with one I thought “wow, really?”.  I found myself frozen with confusion.   My wife saved me by pointing to the left lane.  Similar to choosing a restaurant or a movie, I now can blame her if the car behind me gets the food first.

My car reached the ordering sign.  I am terrible at ordering fast food.  Even though I drive 99% of the time, my wife will lean over me and shout the order through my window.  There are just too many details my over-indulged kids care about that the make the process too complicated.  Have you ever communicated the perfect order only to be replied with “sir, can you repeat that?”.  AHHH.

To my surprise, I noticed all cars converge on a single “pay” window.  2 lanes should be faster than one, right?  I thought it would be interesting to model the typical fast food drive-thru process comparing 1 versus 2 lanes.

Results

The poll results and comments are very interesting. Most people feel 2 lanes versus 1 makes no difference but not all agree. This validates why I wanted to build a simple model and see what I could learn. I created this model to have fun and encourage readers to not take the results too seriously. I do think the model is a great start to an iterative approach of building a much more complex drive thru model though. You learn a lot in building a process model and I have come to appreciate the subtle details necessary to fully model a drive thru.

Here is a video of me running the model and comparing 2 lane versus 1 lane on average time to get your food.

Inputs and Assumptions

My goal was to see how quickly I could capture the general flow of a drive thru and only add details as needed. The model is data driven and a user can easily change the following:

Parameter Default
Number Of Lanes 2
Order Time In Seconds U(30,15)
Percent Pay By Cash 50%
Pay By Credit Card Seconds U(15,5)
Pay By Cash Seconds U(30,5)
Pull Ahead Threshold Seconds 45
Pick Up Food In Seconds U(15,5)
Vehicle Arrival Frequency Minutes E(1)
Vehicle Arrival Quantity 1

Certainly this list is not exhaustive, but I feel representative of the types of things that determine a drive-thru’s process performance. Just to get reasonable defaults I recorded my wait times through various fast food drive-thrus. I also recorded other driver’s times while I was there. Anyone know if drive thru times are publicly available?

I used a Google Map image of a real drive-thru and the distances are to scale to accurately model the impact of vehicle length. The vehicles move 1 mph as they move though the drive-thru queue.

When picking up the food, if the model determines it will take greater than 45 seconds, the car is told to pull ahead and not block the vehicles behind them.

Potential Next Iteration

Even with black boxing the “Get Food” window with a simple, single time distribution, 2 lanes ended up being faster. Had this not been true, I was planning on modeling what specific items a driver orders. I would actually model the kitchen area and the cooking of that restaurant’s menu of items. Drivers would have to wait for their specific ordered items to actually be cooked and ready.

Check Out Dan’s Blog – “Dan’s Green Shoes”:

http://dansgreenshoes.com/