Benefits of a Lean Office: Is it for you?

Lean is no longer the propriety process and quality management mantra for manufacturing units. The success of Lean management in manufacturing units was bound to percolate to non-manufacturing processes sooner or later. Needless to add, success stories about Lean Office abound with many organizations proactively adapting this technique to cut down wastage (also referred to as muda) of time and material and developing processes which are closely knit to give the maximum output. Though Lean processes have been around for quite some time along with other quality processes such as Six Sigma, the interest in Lean Office has been recent due to the increase in the services sector through out the globe.

Benefits of a Lean Office are very easy to gather. However, if you are still not convinced about the benefits of this quality management system, which has shown huge improvements in offices across the world, here are some outlined benefits which can convince you in that direction.

Improves efficiency:

The implementation of lean office processes just does not improve the efficiency of the office marginally, it improves it by as much as 90% in some cases! Such a huge improvement by reviewing the processes and making suitable changes and implementing a revised process is the outcome of the process of Lean Office.

Saves costs:

This is really the reason why many companies find Lean Office of interest. Improved flow of processes results in both direct and indirect cost advantages to the company. Apart from timely responses which results in better results in the overall performance of the company, a Lean Office process implementation also results in saving direct input or resource costs.

Identifies the wastes:

And gets rid of it from within the organization is the output of Lean Office practices. Many a times, business managers are surprised by so-called hidden activities which are actually quite wasteful in terms of both time and money but would have never been exposed had it not been for implementation of Lean Office. Some activities might be being undertaken without planning and a leaner process in place of these activities can get the same and maybe even better results when reviewed.

Simplifies the complex process:

Implementation of a Lean Office study gets many processes under the scanner and managers can look at them in isolation and simplify them for greater productivity from the same set of resources. If you are wondering how does wasteful procedures get active in the first place then it is not the fault of the employees. Processes are usually built one on top of the other which is why they result in becoming slightly cumbersome and with passage of time, it becomes anti-Lean Office.

Retains the knowledge within the organization:

Lean Office implementation makes the business manager document each process and results in sections of automation as well. Due to this close scrutiny of processes, high level of dependability from employees is removed and greater stress is paid to the process. Knowledge retention within the organization is then implemented as employees are made to work within the framework and information collation takes place.

Faster customer response:

If an organization is dealing with customers on a regular basis, Lean Office processes help the response time to be shortened phenomenally and responses become very prompt. Quicker customer responses can only result in better goodwill generation with customers and subsequently more sales and higher profitability. No one can argue with processes which have such direct impact on the bottom line of the company!

Lean also allows you to conform to rules and regulations:

Rules and regulations implemented by various bodies which you need to comply with are made easier to follow when you have it built into the process which you plan to implement. This results in smoother output of regulatory reports and faster turn around time.

Once you are convinced about the value proposition which a Lean Office brings to the table in any organization, it is very likely that you cannot imagine an office in any other way. There are some technical processes which helps you implement the Lean Office which might require intervention from experts who are well versed with Value Stream Mapping and consultants who can provide inputs on various kinds of process flows which can be implemented in an office as well as various Kaizen processes which might not be very well known to the average management consultant.

Peter Peterka is President of Lean Six Sigma US. For additional information on Six Sigma Green Belt or other Six Sigma Black Belt programs contact Peter Peterka.

Author: Peter Peterka Google

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