What is Lean Office?
There is a lot of literature about Lean, and not so much about lean office…
So, what is Lean Office?
Here are 3 main points that can help you understand what Lean Office is.
First of all, and very simply said, this is about applying Lean tools and techniques within an office environment. And by office environment I am referring to support functions such as Human Resources, Customer Service, Finance or pre-sales, procurement, etc.
Second of all, Lean Office is about adding value to your customers by focusing on identifying and performing the right administrative tasks with the right processes.
Let’s take an example:
if your customer is sending you a request for price and his expectations are to have it back within 24h, and you don’t, then there is a good chance that your processes reflecting your level of speed, agility, efficiency and precision are just not good enough.
A lean office is an environment where processes are evaluated and streamlined for maximum customer value.
A lean office, and this is my 3rd point, is about chasing waste in the office, and believe me, there is plenty of it. It can be order entry errors, invoice errors, too many approvals or signatures, too much time searching for information, too many clicks to perform one task, over checking, too much movement, poor office layout, waiting people for a meeting.
Why is it important to chase waste? Because when you assign a dollar value to this waste, then you quickly realize how much it is important to evaluate and streamline your processes.
E.g. A manager has a weekly staff call with 7 direct reports. The estimated cost for 4 people on the team systematically showing up late 10 minutes represents about 2-month salary for an entry level employee for the company!
On the people side, ineffective and inefficient meetings are synonym of frustration. Seen from a Lean Office perspective, it equals to waste, and hidden costs.
So, with this in mind, do you know how much value is created in your current office processes? How good would you say that your processes are?
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