John Black Lean method even applies to making coffee at the office

Program is riddled with misplaced priorities, lack of common sense and failure to respect frontline workers

The government’s adherence to the John Black Lean program goes so far as to include a John Black-approved guide for health-sector workers on how to make a pot of coffee.

The NDP has obtained images of a step-by-step process for making coffee, posted in the Health Quality Council office and branded with both the official logo of the American Lean consultant, John Black and Associates (JBA), as well as Saskatchewan’s “Putting Patients First” provincial health care logo.

The official, standardized approach to coffee-making for the well-educated health experts, Lean specialists, researchers and analysts at the Health Quality Council lists the JBA-approved process for making coffee, breaking it down into eight steps, starting with: “1. Place a carafe below the filter basket (please ensure the carafe is empty before using it.) 2. Remove the filter basket from the machine. 3. Place a filter in the basket…”

“Copyright 2013 John Black and Associates, LLC,” says the document, which also notes the Sept. 6, 2012 document was revised on March 24, 2014.

“This is just plain silly,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “Why should this $40 million American Lean consultant have anything to do with standardizing processes and instructing staff on how to make a pot of coffee?

“This is yet another example of how this government's approach to Lean has gone way too far when it comes to disrespecting well-educated staff and overriding basic common sense. While the government is wasting time on horribly misplaced priorities like coffee-making instructions and using masking-tape outlines to show where nurses’ coffee mugs and staplers go, it is largely ignoring the real problems in health care – like long waits in emergency rooms and for specialists, short-staffing and overcrowding in our hospitals, and the seniors care crisis.”

The standardized coffee-making document is clearly not an anomaly – another official JBA Work Standard was found in the same office. The proper order in which tasks like washing dishes are to be completed in the office was prepared on March 25, 2014 and revised on Oct. 3, 2014. It includes instructions like “Check the dishwasher – if it is more than 50% full, then start the dishwasher. Dishwasher cleaning tablets are to be kept under the sink. Remove the wrapper and place the tablet in the compartment labelled ‘Main Wash’ inscribed on the inside of the dishwasher door. Close the compartment with the cleansing tablet inside.”

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus


See John Black and Associates' instructions on coffee system here.

Name of activity: Making Coffee at HQC

Role performing Activity: All Staff

Location: Saskatoon    Department: Corporate Services

Document Owner: Administration       Region/Organization where this Work Standard originated:

Date Prepared: Sept 6/12         Last Revision: March 24/14                

Work Standard Summary:

Essential Tasks:

  1. Place a carafe below the filter basket (please ensure the carafe is empty before using it.)
  2. Remove the filter basket from the machine.
  3. Place a filter in the basket (filters and coffee packets are found in the top drawer nearest the machine, labelled “coffee supplies”)
  4. Open one of the coffee packets and empty into the filter.
  5. Return the filter basket to its slot on the machine.
  6. Check to see if the green “Ready” light is lit, if not, the water is still heating and you will be able to hear it. Once the green light goes on, press the start button, which is located beside the green light. (Note: the machine is directly connected to a water source; therefore, you do not need to add any water to the coffee maker.)
  7. Once all the water has passed through the filter, move the full carafe into the holder and pour yourself a fresh, delicious cup of coffee.
  8. Empty the used filter and coffee grinds into the garbage can, and prepare a new filter/coffee for the next carafe.

Copyright 2013 John Black and Associates, LLC