Lean Office

Waste in the office clouds a company’s competitiveness

The Lean Office aims to apply the principles which typify Lean Thinking to “transactional” processes, namely:

  • to the “office” processes of manufacturing companies (administration, sales, purchasing….)
  • to the typical processes of service companies (banks, insurance companies, hospitals, public administration, agencies…)

The goal is to analyse and redesign business processes by introducing the following concepts into offices:

  1. Vision by processes: standardisation and simplification of processes with a view to the internal customer-supplier and not to organisational hierarchy
  2. Combating waste: elimination of activities of no value and unnecessary (such as searching for information and documents, duplicate tasks, error correction…) and the reduction of activities of no value but necessary (such as checks, reminders…).
  3. Logic flow: starting operating methods according to which, once a “procedure” has been started (whether it be a request for a quote, a project or an order…), you should not “stop” until it is finished. This means:
    • optimising the number of resources involved,
    • reviewing the layout of the work stations based on the flow,
    • reducing the number of interruptions, obstacles and bottlenecks,
    • balancing workloads,
    • designing and defining who should do what on a clear and shared basis.
  4. Channelling flows: planning different, smoother, faster flows, categorised not only by the different types of output (paperwork, documents, results), but by the complexity and processing method.

Adopting these principles in rethinking your activities and in redesigning your modus operandi means improving in terms of both efficiency, by achieving the best result from the available resources, and effectiveness, by increasing the service offered to your customers (internal and external) and motivating people.

To achieve these objectives, it is necessary to:

  • implement actions to raise awareness in the people involved to create the right motivation and a conceptual common ground.
  • map and measure business processes (with methodologies such as Pro.Act.A®, Value Stream Map, and Swim Lane ….)
  • identify opportunities for improvement and activate the Kaizen Work sites with which to accomplish them.

The design approach can start from a specific process if you already know the critical aspects in advance or, alternatively, from a broader preliminary analysis that allows you to define an intervention priority and an estimate of potential recoveries.

Pro.Act.A.® (Processes & Activities Analysis) >

The answer to how to measure processes in the office