Having reached the age of 49, I am braced for the shock of turning 50, but I have to say that as far as my health is concerned, apart from the odd broken bone in adolescence due to the carelessness typical of that age, when it comes to repairs and visits to the doctor, life has treated me well. Touch wood!
The only exception I might mention is the fortune that I have had to spend on my teeth. It started in adolescence and carries on today. What can you do? I was bound to have some imperfection. I think I have had all the types of repair work that can be carried out on teeth today, and that’s after I’ve tried everything in terms of prevention: shortening the time between check-ups, types of tooth brush, brushing methods, toothpastes, rinsing, etc. They tell me it has to do with the acidity of the saliva. It was a surprise to discover that the PROBLEM came as a standard feature of the model!
Recently, because of a problem I had with a wisdom tooth, I decided to change dentists.
Reason: Logistics. Proximity.
Almost as soon as I had arrived, and after the greetings and the standard questions, the dentist did a panoramic X-ray of my mouth, and once again the verdict was severe: “…You have two crowns that are bad on the inside. They have to be removed and replaced with implants.” I was devastated. In addition to the cost, ten years ago I had the same problem with some other crowns and knew what I in for.
The day of the appointment arrived. I remember that I was extremely nervous when I got there. To give dentists their due – both this one and all those that I have known – they are beings that transmit an overflowing friendliness, with a body language studied and designed to transmit tranquillity. But it is also true that I have always been surprised by the duality of their tools. On the one hand, that reassuring kindness and, on the other, the disturbing instruments they handle – the sort the Inquisition would have wanted to have.
After the usual greetings, I settled back on torture rack number 4.0 and as if I was suffering from Stockholm syndrome I abandoned myself to my fate. What happened from then onwards I will not qualify as “nice”, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Barely thirty-five minutes had passed when I heard:
Seeing my surprise, the dentist, with a broad smile, told me:
“You have to bear in mind that since you had the last implants, ten years ago, the way we work has changed a lot. On the one hand, the technological advances allow us to take advantage of the extractions to fit the implants, and, on the other hand, the panoramic X-ray that we did during the first visit helps us to do a lot of preparation work and to organise the operation without you being present.”
Despite the anaesthesia, a light bulb went off in my head:
- Take advantage of advances in technology for Improvement, and reduce Lead Time.
10 years ago: Treatment time: 6 months Operation time: 2 hours
Today: Treatment time: 3 months Operation time: 35 minutes
- They have separated the operations into: operations with the patient in the surgery and operations that are done without the patient being present in the surgery. That sounds like SMED to me!
At IKOR, working with SMED, and the reduction of Lead Time, is part of our day-to-day activity, and we call it Lean Manufacturing. My dentist probably doesn’t know what Lean Manufacturing is, but … we’re talking about the same thing, aren’t we?