Lean Off the Shop Floor
post by Matin Karbassioon
Last Thursday, I facilitated a session on applying Lean principles and practices to administrative processes. The session quickly “sold out” which was exciting as typically the term Lean is married to manufacturing, but given that so much waste lives in administrative or office processes, regardless of the type of business, I was happy to see manufacturers and non manufacturers attending the session.
Our discussion focused on three main areas -
Lean definition and principles – we discussed how neither the definition nor the five Lean Principles mentioned the office or the factory. Lean focuses on the elimination of waste regardless of where the waste resides.
The 8 wastes as they apply to the office – we reviewed the 8 wastes known as DOWNTIME: defects, overproduction, waiting, non-utilized people, transportation, inventory, motion and excess processing. Following the examples, participants shared similar examples from their own organizations and
Value Stream Mapping – VSM is the tool to help Lean practitioners identify wastes within their organizations and ensure that their process improvement initiatives have real impact on the overall performance of their enterprise.
I presented case studies from companies that have applied Lean tools and techniques in the administrative process showcasing examples of standard work, workplace organization and standardization and Kanban.
Before the end of the session, we dove into the importance of quantifying the problem as well as establishing SMART goals, because we all know, we can’t manage what we don’t measure. The attendees shared some great opportunities for Lean implementation in the administrative/office processes – where and how have you used Lean tools to eliminate waste within your organization? Please share.