Implementing Rigor

It’s not that hard.

Fred opens his post this month with the statement that rigor is hard. I disagree, slightly. Rigor, in my opinion, is only hard at the outset. Once established, the flywheel takes over and rigor becomes just the way it’s done. Our guest author, Darren Vianueva, COO, CRG Solutions, offers several examples of rigor in action in a healthcare setting and closes his piece with a personal rigor. At the close of any article that I have ever seen from Darren, there are a series of questions. The questions beg reflection or application of the topic that he has written about. It’s just the way Darren has applied a rigor to writing an article. It would be easier to simply end the article and leave the reflection to the reader, but I suspect that Darren has found that he is more effective in making his points when he closes with a series of questions. His “close with questions” rigor is now automatic and just the way he writes.

Fred, on the other hand, is a very fluent author and has a talent for putting words to paper in a way that is very engaging and often times quite humorous. I am amazed that I can send Fred a few bullet point ideas and get a four-page article back in a few hours. And, the article will undoubtedly contain biblical, sports, history and “Star Trek” references. I’ve asked Fred how he has come to find his writing wherewithal and he said that he believes that it comes from all of the reading that he has done throughout his life. So a reading rigor is credited with making writing easier.

Jim O’Connor, VP Supply Chain at Henry Ford Health System, knows rigor. He has been a mentor to me in this regard. We met when I was a region operations manager for Cardinal (then Baxter). Jim was featured in industry magazines that highlighted the degree to which he was able to implement a JIT Stockless program in a healthcare provider setting. Following that experience he led the rollout of a common core ERP system centralizing data and transaction management for a health system with over 40 hospitals. So, when Jim called with a desire to implement rigor in Henry Ford’s contract management processes, I jumped at the chance. You can read more about the outcomes of our engagement, but suffice to say, the need for this kind of attention to process rigor is only going to grow. The recent article appearing in HealthLeaders Media highlights the variety of projects or initiatives that supply chain leaders are embarking on to answer the need to cut costs. Best to invest the energy now to implement a process rigor that becomes “just the way it done” in your shop, before the number and complexity of the projects grow to an unmanageable level.

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