There are many success stories of application of Lean principles in manufacturing environment but when it comes to service industry, organizations face challenges or they feel that it is not meant for service or office environment.
Well the biggest problem is that organization focus more on "tools" and fail to fundamentally understand or change how work is performed and how it flows, and therefore do not realize the significant results that can be achieved. Another problem is the lack of alignment to an organization’s strategy and key business objectives. Upon learning a new tool, people tend to go out and seek an application or tool or software. Therefore their efforts do not always provide the results expected because they are not aligned with the key objectives of the business, or do not address a key business need.
Lean Is not a radical approach for offices!!!
Using Lean in service or office environment is not radical – all processes have inputs and an output – and therefore lean is universally applicable!. It is not simply about applying Lean in certain parts of the company, for Lean to be truly effective, it has to be implemented to all aspects of the business, in the entire value stream. No one can be exempt, nor should they be exempt from Lean; it should apply to all. And service or office practices are a classic example of just where Lean can and should be applied.
Lean thinking demands that the office procedures are analysed and then they have to justify how they add value to the service or product that is being produced and delivered to the customer. Due to waste in the processes, it results in time loss for employees.
Necessary changes should be made to remain competitive and these 4 factors can help organizations to stay competitive and it can directly affect the customer satisfaction:
1. Continuous improvement of the quality
2. Reduction of overhead costs
3. Optimisation of logistics (lead time)
4. Ideas and achievement of the employees
Below given is an example of how time loss in the office
Time loss due
|Searching||For documentation, files, all types of information|
|Waiting||For IT programs, colleagues, authorization, singnatures, etc|
|Disruption||Of the actual work through interruptions|
|Pursuit||Of missing information, colleague who cannot be contacted|
|Participation||In inefficient, unnecessary and long meetings without any results|
|Sorting out||Of excess information, advertising, email, spam, etc|
|Clarification||Of badly delegate, unclear and confusing tasks|
|Correcting||Of incorrect, incomplete entries/ input|
|Tracking||Of complicated, redundant or bureaucratic processes|
|Transporting||Of papers from and to the copier, post, etc.|
It has been observed that out of the available work time, an average of 38% is loss through unproductive activities. This means two days per week per employee.
There are 16 types of lossess in service industry. Click here to read more about the same.
The bottom line is that the Lean office or service does for administrative process what Lean manufacturing does for production work. It improves flow and reduces waste.
This helps the top line by adding customer value (shorter lead times, for example) and helps reduce expenses by taking out waste from the processes.