Lean as a new way of life

While the financing of hospitals is often under pressure, UZ Brussel is confronted with the demand to work more efficiently.
Peter Willen

The Möbius consultants are significantly involved with our organisation. They have made themselves at home in our hospital, which is a huge asset.

Jan Beeckmans, General Administrator
UZ Brussels

Strategic challenge

The Dutch-language UZ Brussel wants to be a driven and innovative working community that emanates from open humanist ethics and active pluralism. It respects the welfare of the employees within an independent and financially sound organisation.

While the financing of hospitals is often under pressure, the hospital is confronted with the demand to work more efficiently in the short term. Hospitals are very labour-intensive environments that see, on average, only a 1% margin. Being inventive and creative are essential in order to be able to continue providing the same service with fewer resources. Both by working more effectively and efficiently and by looking externally to see whether it is possible to find additional resources to complement government funding. Working more professionally and more efficiently are often seen as a threat to the provision of care, but lean methodology encourages a search for efficiency and quality improvement, which means lean thinking is becoming a necessary condition for providing quality care.

In the longer term, UZ Brussel especially wants to see opportunities for the future in the reorganisation of the entire healthcare chain.


The mission, vision and strategy of UZ Brussel was adapted to evolutions in the healthcare sector. Because the hospital did not have the necessary skills in house to deal with processes, project management, etc., Möbius was requested to support the translation into concrete actions in the workplace and implement the lean methodology.

The introduction of lean as a change process requires a structured approach. For example, lean has several, very important basic conditions:

  • From doctors to nurses to the supporting services: everything and everyone must be pulling in the same direction to successfully implement the lean methodology.
  • Changes must be clear and specific for every employee of the service.
  • Changes must be followed up with genuine interest to ensure they are sustainable.

Once a culture of improvement is introduced and established with employees, improvement initiatives will naturally follow. Small improvements motivate because they are visible immediately, which leads to a natural desire to continue with even more improvements.


Möbius successfully implemented lean thinking into the workplace. Many improvement initiatives have already been proposed and developed, and many more will follow in the future. In fact, lean is now the way of working and living in UZ Brussel.

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