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Streamlining Your Office

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I got a follow up question from last week's lean manufacturing event about how this applies into the administrative area of a business and I thought that I would share this on my blog too.

The principles of lean (value, value stream, flow, pull and perfection) all apply, it's about being a little creative in how you apply these ideas to your business that counts. By looking at what your business needs to achieve then you can find ways to apply the ideas, ultimately cutting out unnecessary work and streamlining the remaining work.

Take the flow stage for example. In administrative functions the quality of the work being passed between one department and another can make a huge difference to the overall lead time if the work is incomplete or unclear. Whereas in a manufacturing environment you can see the physical work happening and there are sometimes more rigid constraints this does not always happen in an office. There can be many ways to produce the work and standards aren't always as clear.

Taking some of the formality from the manufacturing side (Standard Operating Procedures and Checklists for example) can help with improving this situation.

So, yes, lean manufacturing ideas can help in the office enormously if you are creative in how you apply them. Don't get too rigid with the application, leave the people in the office with room to breathe!

If you want some practical ideas on how to do this then please check out my short guide on Amazon - 'Office Productivity'. You can download a free sample to your Kindle, iPhone etc.. and the ideas are quick to incorporate into your normal working day.

Giles Johnston