Daily Management System

Daily Management System

Posted on Posted in Lean Tools, Management System

Drucker defines control as, “in the task of a manager, controls are purely a means to an end; the end is control”. He also says, “If we deal with a human being in a social institution, controls must become personal motivation that leads to control”.*  An effective daily management system creates the personal motivation that Drucker mentions.  It does this by engaging the employee base in the act of problem solving.  The daily management system is a collection of tools used to facilitate a daily discussion around process improvement. These elements can be broadly categorized into communication and metrics.

Daily Management System Communication Section

The communication portion of a daily management system will provide the user with information from several different areas. There should be sections about safety, process changes, relevant standard work, and process improvement ideas generated by staff.

Let’s look at each of them in the context of an example.

A Daily Management System in a Housekeeping Department to Highlight Safety

Housekeeping departments have multiple factors that can present an unsafe situation for the worker utilizing the work space. One method used in industry to track safety events is a “Day since last…” board. In this example, the user tracks, “Day since last injury” for their housekeeping department. Injuries that occur are captured and the data is collected in such a way as to allow trends to be identified. This then becomes the training plan and focus for the department.  This focus is achieved through information on types of injuries and safety events that are occurring with their teams.

This information also drives other sections that are part of the communication board.  Safety training presents process changes that need to be communicated and standard work documents to be produced.  The last piece of the communication section (general process improvement ideas) is what I consider to be the glue that holds the process improvement efforts together in an area.

The team can use all of the prior discussion around safety, training, process changes and new standard work to drive the identification of other general improvement ideas. This is where the team really gets traction.  There will be items that come up that are staff members’ passion projects.

How can one go wrong when trying to improve the items and processes that ignite the passions of the team?

“If we deal with a human being in a social institution, controls must become personal motivation that leads to control”.*

Daily Management System

Daily Management System Metrics Section

The metrics portion of the daily management system will provide the user with daily performance, trended history and countermeasure plans for three key performance metrics..

It is important to pick a measure that the team can impact. For example, when talking about average length of stay on a nursing unit, tracking the outcome (a patient’s length of stay) will be informational in nature only. It does nothing for impacting the length of stay in the here and now. One metric a nursing floor impacts is the average discharge time of a patient.

The team can identify days where the discharge time does not meet the expectation by tracking this metric on a daily and weekly basis.   Further discussion can help the team discern lean wastes or other factors that were impacting the average discharge time operationally on that day and/or week. Several questions come to mind: What was the average time the discharge order was written for that day and/or week? How are discharges typically distributed throughout the day? Are there any common operational delays that keep the patient from being discharged?

The team will be able to determine the factors keeping the process from performing by focusing on relevant metrics. Each metric will have its own action item list to identify countermeasures that the team can test. This way the discussion turns from monitoring performance to factors impeding the process and action plans to address it.

How can one go wrong when trying to improve the items and processes that ignite the passions of the team? 


In his book, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices, Peter Drucker writes,

“The probability of an event’s being meaningful is a much more important datum than the event itself”.

In conclusion, the daily management system is a powerful vehicle for cultural transformation by giving context to operational factors impacting performance. The daily management system empowers the team to counter these barriers with process changes.  The ownership then lies at the front-line and thus creates a “personal motivation that leads to control” for management.In this case, management wins by letting go of the control and giving it to their employees.

* taken from The Daily Drucker