Many companies have undertaken Lean, also called Muda, to reduce wastage of material and to develop processes that give maximum output.
Along with Six Sigma, Lean Office has also been of great interest and benefit to service sector companies throughout the world. It is beneficial to customers, employees and the company as a whole, with great financial and operational gains.
Benefits to Employees
Lean enables reductions in waste due to overproduction and waiting. This is possible by providing cross functional training to employees, which helps enhance their skills to contribute to variety of work and with a better sense of ownership.
Roles of individuals are better defined causing less friction due to overlapping of responsibilities. Employee satisfaction with an increased understanding of their contribution acts as a major boost to employee productivity – and helps to achieve the organizational goals as a whole.
The Lean office enforces continuous performance improvement by making incremental improvements with reduced risk of change management.
Benefits to Customers
Lean office helps to develop flexible operations, which can easily adjust to customer demands. It offers a continuous flow, which helps take advantage of just- in-time pull systems to minimize work in progress as well as cycle times.
Thus, Lean enables the time it takes for delivery to customer to be reduced, which is ultimately reduced to such levels that production can be undertaken according to customer requests.
For customers, when products do not meet their specifications, they are defective.
Lean Office brings about a mistake-proofing process, so that defects do not happen. This in turn helps to reduce waste and improves quality, as well as saves costs – which helps to reduce losses and increase profits.
The reduction in waste by eliminating waits in various queues also enables faster services, which ensures that customers do not need to call to check the status of their orders. Thus, the customer is satisfied with the service they receive.
For the Lean office, higher quality comes at with a lesser cost – and this can have a good impact on the organization’s bottom line.
Customer satisfaction is key to bringing in more customers – and with Lean processes in place, that easily becomes possible.
For Lean offices, the quest is for a reduction in non-value added work, which generally robs performance. Improved performance generates higher returns on investment on labor. With a reduction in waste, the organization also benefits from reduction in cost of low quality as a result of errors, scrap and rework.
Waste causes a drain in organizational profits, which are eliminated to a large extent due to the value added activities undertaken as a part of Lean office. Every small reduction in waste is a large contribution to increasing revenues and profits for the company. Reduced cycle times, due to the elimination of waiting times for orders, ensures that the costs to execute the value stream is also reduced.
With defects reduced, quality improves and facilitates overall continuous quality improvements. With a powerful feedback mechanism, defects causing losses can be quickly brought down, thus increasing throughput. This also enables a quicker time to market due to the company’s increased ability to respond to changing requirements.
Lean office provides organizations a competitive advantage over other companies – and helps them to build up a lead that will be difficult to overcome.