Success Stories

Supply Ordering Process

Supply Ordering Process

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment and Pam Vecellio, from Continual Impact LLC, led a Kaizen event to improve the supply ordering process cycle time and increased the order placement and delivery accuracy for all programs in the department. The results included decrease in cycle time – total ordering process time per order from 93 to 16.5 minutes, (82%), time and improving the order and delivery accuracy to 100%. This means staff can focus on more value added activities and get the needed resources faster.



Gap & Goal

There are numerous methods to place an order with different information fields to complete.  Examples of order methods include 4 separate program specific Excel spreadsheets, electronic fillable PDF forms, general email requests for items, a ½ page triplicate supply ordering form that was last revised in 1991, verbal order requests by individuals that present in person, orders that present with purchasing card transactions and a single sheet miscellaneous receipt form.  An extensive amount of time is spent on managing the organizations’ orders.   Some orders require researching an exact item, locating best price, finding a vendor, and determining delivery times. Orders may require approval from a supervisor which may or may not be included with the order when it is placed. Finally the accounting staff is responsible to assure there is a specified funding source and that the source has adequate funds to cover the cost. It was determined that the accounting staff spend anywhere from 48 to 63 hours per month processing orders.jc-ss-3

Approach & Methods

  1. Established improvement goal
  2. Mapped out the process Value Stream and Sub Process Map
  3. Collected time and waste data
  4. Conducted Kaizen event (5 days)
    1. Understand the current work processes (process maps & Going to the Gemba)
    2. Identified, analyzed wastes, and prioritized improvement focus
    3. Root caused high priority wastes
    4. Identified and prioritized solutions
    5. Developed and tested solutions; learned lessons from tests; developed standardized work and training material
    6. Installed solutions
    7. Established continual improvement system for measure tracking and team feedback.
    8. Organized the central supply room by 5S’ing the room and establishing kanban cards for reorder management



The process was re-sequenced and redesigned to eliminate unnecessary steps, recycle loops, and wait time and other wastes. Key job aids were developed such as creating a standard vendor list (by category), creating a list of items than cannot be ordered, training members and distributing P-cards to heavy orderers, shredding non-preferred vendor catalogs, providing budget visibility and codes, creating 1 standard order form, creating a share point site to access the order form and store all ordering documents, creating delivery location rules, granting orderers access to vendor web sites, 5S’ing the one storage room, establishing a kanban ordering system to decrease inventory and standardize ordering, and lastly moving the ordering process from as needed to monthly.



“I have worked a couple of items with the team and we should see a much improved process for the purchasing of office supplies over the coming months.  It will require some changes…will benefit greatly as we move forward.  The group is motivated and ready to make these changes so that everyone will benefit.”  Process Owner

“Really good collaboration & idea building.” Kaizen event team member

“Liked watching the process evolve” Kaizen event team member

“Leaders are more accepting” Kaizen event team member

”Kaizen provided us deeper problem solving” Kaizen event team member

“We can use our systems / technology in a more productive way” Kaizen event team member

To read more, this project summary can be found on the Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange site:  Johnson County Department of Health and Environment-Supply Ordering Process