28, July 2015

Lean Office: Include Non-Manufacturing Departments in Your Lean Efforts

The goal of any business is to become more efficient while continuing to improve its bottom line. Competition in the business world is fiercer due to factors such as rising costs of energy and ever increasing salaries. In response to this pressure, the natural inclination of most business owners is to concentrate on streamlining and containing production costs.

The cost of goods or services sold is generally the largest cost a business incurs. Business owners that focus only on the production process miss a significant opportunity. Failure to examine the processes and procedures related to sales, general, and administrative expenses is leaving money on the table. The front office generates significant expenses and is often ripe for the implementation of lean strategies.

Administrative and office functions should also be on the cutting edge of efficiency along with the production process. Examine the following to assess if it is time to implement Lean concepts in the front office.

  • Is your business losing money in the billing or order-processing phase?
  • Are on-time delivery demands being met?
  • Is data being entered more than once in the management information system?
  • Is data being lost from multiple “hand-offs”?
  • Does the office stop functioning when there is an absence?

A Lean Office provides practical solutions by providing strategic business plans. These plans are designed to improve and slim down administrative processes without interrupting the production process. Lean businesses balance eliminating wasteful inefficiencies while continuing to grow the bottom line. This goal should be no different in the administrative setting. The Lean Office process tackles inefficiency and waste at three different points of your business:

  • Enterprise:  Processes involving the external operations of your business, such as research and development, product design, scheduling, inventory management, and production control.
  • Organizational:  “Support” processes, providing assistance to your overall business operations, such as human resources, management information systems, and engineering and finance departments.
  • Departmental:  Determines the best efficiencies for an office based on roles and responsibilities, as well as lowering the number of hand-off breakdowns. It also focuses on reducing the number of tasks that take an excessive amount of time or eliminating them completely.

Impact Dakota offers a one-day seminar on Lean Office that is a mix of classroom learning and interactive simulation. Seminar participants learn the importance of value mapping while learning to reduce floor space, processing errors, production time and work in process. Class participants are placed in the role of managers who deal with these costly issues on a day-to-day basis. For more information on Lean Office, please click the button below! 

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