Efficiency Improvement through Lean Office Implementation

Published: 19 April 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/mg5p9bgnfj.1
Maragathamuthu Muthu


Introduction The business world has been changed by globalization as well as the meaning of value of a product to customers. Thus, companies have been operating in volatile and highly complex environments. The expectations of customers allied to increased competition require companies to know how to gain competitive advantage. There are different approaches to guide business in this new direction, such as the lean production system . It has been a while since lean principles were recognized as a way to gain competitive advantage. Therefore, in order to improve operational performance, lean practices have been ever more implemented by companies. Lean production brought a reflection about manufacturing and service operations not only of the repetitive production environment, and also changed the trade-off between quality and productivity. It can be said that, in this way, it has satisfactorily challenged the practices of mass production . Lean manufacturing is a set of techniques that can reduce and eliminate wastes, making the companies more flexible and responsive. With lean philosophy, in the end, the processes can run using fewer materials, people and inventory, requiring less investment, and consuming less space. The lean manufacturing's techniques, tools and principles can be applied in various industry segments, enabling waste elimination in order to achieve operational excellence. Originally, its principles were applied only on manufacturing sectors, because it was developed in this area. Subsequently, its application was spread to other productive areas, where there exists a scope for process improvement . There has been an increase in the number of manufacturers who recognize that to have a true Lean transformation its principles must be applied to all company operations, not being restricted to the shop floor . Therefore, it has become more frequent use lean in other areas, for example in administrative environments. It is called Lean Office the implementation of lean manufacturing philosophy in offices and administrative processes. Lean Office helps to streamline information flow in any administrative function, focusing on reducing the total cycle time . Companies can only experience the process improvements and benefits of lean manufacturing principles if its implementation is successful. Thus, the objectives of this research carried out through a systematic literature review was to identify the main difficulties in the Lean Office implementations, propose a classification system and sort the collected literature. This study is important for better knowledge of the literature – because there is very limited literature that discusses the Lean Office to present a profile of the application of Lean office, and to suggest researches to find methodologies and solutions for making successful implementations. A successful case of lean office implementation in the Electrical accessories manufacturing office area is present


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1. Connecting with people: When Lean starts it is normally in the factory and it is driven by frontline improvement events, which require operators and supervisors to be involved because the process of making things is what they do. Management does not try to interfere because it’s not their area of expertise and they do not take a part in the activities. In the office things are different. The processes cut a diagonal slice through the organization, involving different departments or functions as well as management levels. Everyone has a view on how the process operates but only those at the coalface really know. Any improvement activity needs to connect with the people at the coalface; although management is involved they are invariably the cause of many issues and wastes in the office. 2. Understand what a process is: In the office it’s hard to see what’s being produced. There is often nothing more than an approval, a signature, an email or a figure at the end of the process. People think that their daily tasks are the process when in fact they are performing a task within the process. Getting the team together to discuss their work and then defining their processes starts to create the framework for improvement. It begins to relate the work to the customer and create the understanding that there are a lot of interdependencies to achieve the end goal. 3. Drive business objectives: Within any medium to large sized organization there will be a myriad of processes. To accompany this there will be a set of business objectives. Improvement activities often stall in the office by focusing on things that have little consequence on the neither process nor business objectives. Activities are started that copy the workshops in the factory but these have little effect on business processes; for example using the tool 5S – which is great in the factory where We have materials and tools but not so relevant in the office where many things are now electronic. Improvement needs to be able make a step change in the performance of the process as well as having a direct bearing on the most important business objectives. 4. Focus on what We can influence: In today’s world of global businesses the work that is seen in the office often belongs elsewhere in the organization, for example getting a quote together for a global supply solution. This work may cause the most frustration and take up time but its important to focus on what We can influence. Engagement will only occur when people can see the direct impact of their actions. The more wider complex processes need regional and site teams to be mobilized to improve. 5. Try different ways to see the waste: Lean classically tells to go out and:


Madurai Kamaraj University School of Business Studies


Lean Service Improvement, Lean Manufacturing