Our lean budgets “organization” represents the team implementing a new approach to budgeting developed for a five-hospital healthcare system in Oregon. We are focused on our healthcare environment and the rapid changes associated with current reforms, but we think that most of the concepts we’re exploring would adapt just as well to manufacturing or other service industries.
Michael Smith, the developer of the lean budget process, is currently Manager for Financial Planning and Analysis for the local healthcare provider, but has an extensive background in manufacturing with twelve years experience in various roles at Hewlett-Packard. Michael’s expertise was focused on forecasting and financial modeling, and he was very much an advocate for advanced forecasting techniques. It finally dawned on him that the quest for better forecasts was never to be completely satisfying – even the best forecast is inevitably flawed. What was needed was a budget model that side-steps the distraction of forecast components. That’s where the lean budget concept was born.
Josh Hillstrom is a Senior Planning Analyst for a regional medical system (5,000 employees / 700 departments). In addition to the healthcare industry, his finance career has also included budgeting and forecasting responsibilities within the manufacturing sector (Entek International and Coverstar, LLC). Josh believes there are key principles that bridge the spectrum of industry. Whether the ultimate product is a widget or a service, efficiencies (and subsequent margins) are gained through the reduction of waste. The budgeting process is no different, and should ultimately set the precedence for the lean culture within an organization.