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How to improve Office performance through Lean thinking and Lean management

By 24th March 2020 No Comments
Optimising your Back office Operations with Lean Thinking and Lean Management

It is well known fact that Lean manufacturing has helped transform thousands of organisations world wide and helped them to strive inspite of changing business situations and challenges.  Lean Practicing companies have crossed barriers of countries, sectors, regions, product offering, low volume high mix, high mix low volume manufacturing operations.

Lean thinking is also extended to

  • Aircraft manufacturing, 
  • Defence equipment production, 
  • Food production, 
  • Agriculture
  • Foundry
  • Forgings
  • Banking
  • Hospitals
  • Retail
  • Logistics
  • Supply chain,
  • Warehousing
  • Transportation
  • Software
  • App development
  • Telecom
  • Government
  • Research organisations and
  • Service organisations

Lean thinking is all about applying common sense to improve business performance through people involvement.  Every lean organisation strives to maximise delivered value to the customers by optimising flow of products and customers in alignment to the customer demand.  This obviously calls for waste elimination while delivering value

Lean thinking in offices and services cannot be applied as stand-alone initiate. It has to be true business model which means, lean has to be applied to all functions.  Many organisations attempt to duplicate the success of Lean practicing companies. Success rate is high for the organisations who commit to the implementation as long term investment and not for short term and quick financial benefits.

One of the most challenging obstacles to applying lean thinking is the structure stereotype. Traditional and outdated  companies are organised by functions or departments that have little relationship to the information actually being processed or the services being delivered. In most cases the organisational structure creates hurdles by design for information flow and services flow. Many functions work in isolated islands with many number of hand-offs ultimately delaying the value flow.  Key objective of optimising the organisation performance from end to end is not fulfilled in such cases. Value stream approach used in manufacturing operations are very much applicable for service organisations in order to improve performance.

Considering this, best solution is to create cross-functional teams based on Value streams. This can be called as cells or pods.  Office and administration operations reduced the process lead time by as much as 90% compared to traditional organizations. The concept of internal customer satisfaction is enhanced with teamwork.  The result is a reduction of NVA or non-value added activities in the entire value stream. This is done by going from functional silos to cell approaches. It is evident that the way in which the activities or organized reflects the final outcome.

As part of implementation plan, key tools that are used in office are:

  • Standard work
  • Visual Management
  • Daily Work Management System
  • Workplace organisation or Office 5S.
  • One Point Lesson
  • Check-lists
  • Mistake proofing
  • Continuous flow of information
  • Lead time tracking
  • Quick response operations
  • Standard templates
  • Training within Industry
  • Line Balancing
  • First time right or quality at source
  • Kaizen in office

Related Article- Five Phases of Lean Roadmap – A Thousand Step Journey

Elimination of seven types of office waste is the key enabler for applying the tools above.

They are:

  • Overproduction:

This type of waste is found when organisation produces more information than just enough needed to perform, demanding information that are not needed, sending mails to more people than required, attaching documents more than needed etc.,

  • Inventory

Processing and dumping of information more than needed for next operation when it is getting accumulated results in excess inventory.  Waiting for approvals, excess print-outs, too many emails which cannot be handled.

  • Defects

Not doing things first time right and repeating the job comes under defects

  • Extra processing:

  Activities that need more than needed such as add on approvals, too many CC mails.

  • Waiting:

  People waiting for information or work instructions

  • Motion:

Movements due to unorganised workplace or layouts, searching information

  • Transportation

Too many to and fro of information, shifting messages from one folder to another folder etc.,

Related Article– Deploying Lean as Strategy Can Transform Organisations Towards Success

Common application of Lean office and administration are:

  • Customer satisfaction improvement in Hospitals
  • Que reduction in Airports
  • Bills processing in service organisation
  • Lead time reduction
  • Reduce discharge processing time in Hospitals
  • Reduce change-over time in Hospitals between two patients
  • Increase revenue through faster order fulfilment
  • Loan processing time reduction in banks
  • Account opening time reduction in banks
  • Entry pass time reduction in security/reception areas
  • Recruitment time reduction
  • Bill processing time reduction 
  • Check-in process time optimisation
  • Turnaround between of trips in Aircrafts
  • Quick service ensuring at QSR
  • Minimising stock out in retails/pharmacies
  • New product launch lead time reduction in research organisations.
  • Reduce admission process time in schools and colleges
  • Making onetime charting in railways
  • Reduce ticketing and check-in process time in airports
  • Reduce lead time between order to delivery in logistics and supply chains.

Related Article– Lean in Hospitals & Healthcare Services

Seven Steps Business transformation systems is consulting vertical of Seven Steps Group.  We do Lean consulting in india, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Africa, UK, USA.  Our Lean consultants help in

  • Lean manufacturing consulting
  • Lean Enterprise consulting
  • Lean in office and services consulting

We use the following approaches and methodologies in delivering results.

  • Lean approach to office and service organisations
  • Lean tools to be deployed for office and service organisations
  • Waste in service organisation
  • Lean transformation in banking, frontline, hospitality, hospitals
  • Lean application in administration
  • Lean Hospitals
  • Lean in Governments.

Apart-from helping organisations in overall business development, Seven Steps help in turnaround and enhanced business results of companies.

Please get in touch with us in case you need:

  • Lean consulting for manufacturing organisation.
  • Lean consulting for Hospitals
  • Lean consulting for construction
  • Lean consulting for retail and logistics

We support Automotive, foundry, forgings, fabrication and assembly, contract manufacturing, pharmaceuticals,  food processing units, oil and natural gas, Solar panels manufacturing. Corrugation, paper plants, printing, packaging, bottling plants, newspaper printing, label printing, interior decor, outlet fixtures, apparel, textiles, spring manufacturing, construction equipments, special purpose machines to name few.

Apart from this, we have

Some of the flagship training programmes conducted at Seven Steps Academy of Excellence are:

Six sigma Green Belt

Six Sigma Black Belt

Six Sigma Yellow Belt

Skill development programme – Campus to CorporatePrecision Engineering

Applied 5S


Lean Experimental Learning Programme