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Utilizing the Power of Continuous Process Improvement in Technical Services
Journal of Hospital Librarianship (2005)
  • Lisa A. Palmer, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Barbara C. Ingrassia, University of Massachusetts Medical School

In summer 2003 the Lamar Soutter Library initiated a Continuous Process Improvement project. The project’s goal was to reduce time and/or save money by examining and improving work processes. The charge for the Technical Services team was to reduce turnaroud time of certain processes by 50% or more, including (1) book acquisitions (from order to shelving) and (2) implementation of serials title changes. The team utilized value-added flow analysis to examine the processes and then did a six-month pilot project testing their recommendations.

The Team met weekly over four months to identify the specific steps involved in each process, review the time involved in completing each task, analyze whether or not the step added value, and suggest improvements to the process. Team members documented and timed current workflow in spreadsheets and flowcharts. The Team proposed a number of procedural changes and initiatives that were accepted by library management for the pilot project. Important components of the implementation were establishing procedures for better communication and additional staff training. The pilot project demonstrated that the streamlined workflow was much more efficient.

Value-added flow analysis is a useful tool for continuous process improvement. Technical Services will be better able to serve its internal and external customers.

  • continuous process improvement,
  • value-added flow analysis
Publication Date
October 12, 2005
Citation Information
Lisa A. Palmer and Barbara C. Ingrassia. "Utilizing the Power of Continuous Process Improvement in Technical Services" Journal of Hospital Librarianship Vol. 5 Iss. 3 (2005)
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