Lean Office

Sharing the workLean Office Processes Improve Lead Times

Office processes can account for as much as 50% of your total lead time.

The Lean principles and tools utilized in manufacturing operations can be applied in the office or administrative processes to reduce waste and improve productivity.

Office wastes can manifest in:

  • excess paperwork
  • redundant approvals
  • inefficient work area/design
  • incomplete or inaccurate information
  • complex tracking systems

Accurate estimating, efficient order handling and responsive customer service help to protect your profits, maintain your reputation and keep you competitive.

Case Study: Applying Lean Thinking to the Quoting process

We worked with a company that was planning to expand its market share by 25% over the next 3 years. The Quoting process played a key role in meeting that objective. However, it was not responsive to customers’ needs: an average request for quote took in excess of 66 hours to process, causing lost business potential.

By guiding a cross-functional team through Kaizen methodologies including Value Stream Mapping, we identified multiple opportunities to improve lead time in the quoting process. Our structured problem solving approach and expert facilitation enabled the team to focus objectively on work flow. We helped them to identify and prioritize process improvement opportunities to:

  • Develop a new and improved customer quote template
  • Create and apply comprehensive checklists to ensure information integrity
  • Automate a more complete quote log that speeds information flow
  • Ensure the timeliness of information
  • Establish standard work for all processes so improvements were sustainable


  • Lead time decreased from 66 to 32 hours per quote
  • Process time decreased from: 2 to 1.3 hours per quote
  • Completeness and Accuracy improved from 50% to 90% 
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