A More Efficient Office Workplace Begins with Lean

5S Workplace

Does applying lean office ideas to your workspace seem like a far-fetched idea to you? Are you familiar with the benefits of Lean?

At its core, Lean is a systematic approach to identifying and eliminating waste and non-value added activities. Often used in the manufacturing industry in the production process, the efficiencies that Lean tools and techniques bring to a production line are also applicable to any office workspace.

The administrative functions of an office environment are an ideal area to apply Lean methodologies. While waste and inefficiencies may be challenging to uncover in office processes as they are not as well defined, they are not insurmountable. Lean also helps to identify customer and product value of administrative services.

Just as it can with a production process, Lean principles can expedite the processes of your administrative services to improve the flow of information among different office functions while eliminating wasteful steps.

That’s where the Lean Office process can benefit your business. It’s a continuous improvement initiative that evaluates administrative processes within a business to determine ways to streamline tasks for greater efficiency, quality and productivity.

If you’re looking to see if your office workspace could benefit from the Lean Office process, take the time to objectively observe your office and each workflow. Key areas to be on the lookout for are:

  • Messy desks, cluttered in/out boxes or email
  • Incomplete and/or inaccurate information
  • Lack of a clear flow
  • Functionality of departments
  • Amount of rework done
  • Frequency and length of meetings
  • Office visibility, walls, cubicles
  • Lack of applicable metrics
  • Multiple steps for reviews and approvals

Some typical examples of waste found in office environments include data entry errors, system downtime, excessive approval process, underutilized people, unnecessary distance between employees and printers/copiers/fax machines, and nonessential distribution of information and paperwork, to name a few.

There are a number of approaches to the Lean Office process, but a good place to start is to:

1. Map the current state of your key processes

2. Identify all areas of waste

3. Brainstorm ideas for improvement

4. Design the future state processes

5. Implement tasks to create the future state

6. Measure the results and adjust as needed

7. Plan for continuous improvement efforts

Going through these steps can be difficult and tiresome, especially if this is your first exposure to Lean Office, but the benefits can be exponential. Some of the key outcomes you can expect from implementing Lean Office principles and techniques include:

  • Shorter response time to customers
  • Reduced errors, transactions & costs
  • Simplified processes
  • Improved utilization of people/resources
  • Increased capacity
  • Higher customer & employee satisfaction

Lean Office techniques help improve the organization and efficiency of your office workspace. You’ll be able to streamline information flow, optimize office supplies and inventory, and apply visual controls to help establish and manage standard work procedures, all while eliminating waste and non-value added activities. Add it all up and Lean Office results in a positive impact to the balance sheet in any office environment.

Did you attend the webinar about Lean Office?

Webinar AvailableWatch the full, insightful discussion with Continuous Improvement Consultant, Matin Karbassioon, and Ari Santiago, President & CEO of IT Direct.

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