Subscribe
The world's leading Supply Chain Planning Industry online event

Virtual Conference

September 27, 2022

Europe's leading iBPM Industry online event

Virtual Conference

October 11, 2022

Accelerate the delivery of great results with process mining

Webinar

October 18th, 2022

Digital transformation comes in many forms

Webinar

November 7th, 2022

The world's leading iBPM industry online event

Virtual Conference

November 15-17, 2022

The world's leading Process Mining industry online event

Virtual Conference

Nov 29 - Dec 1, 2022

A journey through the forest of transformation

Virtual Conference

September 20, 2022

The world's leading Supply Chain Planning online event

Virtual Conference

September 27-29, 2022

Larry Fast
By
April 15, 2017

5 Tips for Introducing Lean to Administrative Functions

Screenshot 2017-04-09 15.33.02.pngWhile many will still argue that "this may work on the shop floor but not in my office," happily there is an increasing number of real-life examples that are proving this wrong. For example, I am on the Southeast Region Board of Directors for AME (Association for Manufacturing Excellence). We presented an Atlanta Lean Summit event in May that included numerous tours in the area. Most were tours of manufacturing plants. These were not.

One was the United Way of Greater Atlanta office in downtown Atlanta. The paradigm has traditionally been that their customers were the recipients of the aid that is metered out each year in the communities they serve. Focusing there first, they were able over a long period of time to streamline processes regarding the distribution of the collected donations. And they've done it quite well. (They are the largest charity in the U.S. and have an efficiency rating of 91%. That means 91 cents out of every dollar donated goes to those organizations supported by each local UW and represents the median of the top 10 according to Forbes magazine.)

Read: What's Next After Lean Six Sigma?

However, processes related to how they work with the donors have been far less efficient, and little attention has been made to improve those processes as well. With the help of a consultant to get them started, Nancy Vepraskas, senior vice president, human resources, and the entire UW team committed to eliminating waste and improving services to their second group of customers, i.e. the companies and the donors who make their charity mission possible.

I was impressed by the fact that this leader had stood conventional wisdom on its head by turning the telescope around and looking through the opposite end. In fact, the revelation is that it's the corporation patrons and millions of participants in their fund raising campaign each year who are equally important customers -- and are the life blood of their organization. The best news of all:  The leader of this team and her associates have started their continuous improvement (CI) journey. They are committed and passionate about improving the efficiency and the effectiveness of their interactions with their benefactors, as well as in making their processes more customer friendly across the board. They aren't just talking about it, they're doing it!

The other non-manufacturing tour was the Chick-Fil-A headquarters campus in Atlanta. While they aren't flying under the lean banner, they understand continuous improvement and have been practicing it as an ingrained part of their culture for several decades now. They learned a long time ago what their customers want in terms of quality food and customer service. For those of you who have dined at any of their restaurants across the country, you've experienced the consistent quality and the friendly and helpful customer service by the whole restaurant team. It's always: "My pleasure!" with a big smile. Their leadership mindset, training programs, standard work, quality control, et al, are models of near perfection.

So if we're so motivated to apply lean thinking in the office, how do we start?  My experience is that functional areas often don't think in terms of "who is my customer?" Let's start there.

1. Take inventory of the key processes you are responsible for and determine who the key users, i.e., your customers, are.

2. Interview key customers on each process to find out which ones they regularly use, what works well and what doesn't. For example, reports aren't accurate; aren't timely; aren't actionable; it's always a hassle to get to the correct person to answer the question; answer received isn't helpful; evidence that personnel are not well trained.

For example, on the shop floor I always want to know which processes are keeping operators from being productive, doing a good job, becoming frustrated. Is it having the correct: job instructions, tooling, maintenance, training, communications, schedule, etc. In other words, we want to eliminate the reasons why machine operators have a bad day. In the offices, what do you need to improve your administrative process to eliminate the reasons why your customers (both internal and external) have a bad day? It's exactly the same thinking.

http://insights.btoes.com/business-transformation-operational-excellence/premium-contributor-content/the-lean-5s-guide-manufacturing

3. Do you have the information necessary to define the problem and begin to problem solve? Do you have meaningful metrics in place? I think about this like the old inventory questions: What do I need? What do I have? What do I have to go get? Collecting the data you need is important to understanding the size of the problem and assigning it the proper priority.


4. Form a team of your staff experts, including a knowledgeable user, and begin.
Do they have the skills to use the problem-solving tool set? If not, support them with someone who has the skill set elsewhere in the company. Absent internal support, seek out a consultant who will help you get started. (One warning here: Use the consultant to teach your people how to organize the CI effort and use the tools effectively so that the expertise is developed in house. Become self-sufficient. Make sure you have alignment on this approach before hiring outside help.)

5. Importantly, in addition to speaking directly with your customers, don't forget to create a forum right up front for open discussion and input from your staff members. They very likely know where there are disconnects, inefficiencies, errors in the current processes, but may be reticent about calling them to anyone's attention if such behaviors have fallen on deaf ears before, or worse, resulted in being criticized for making an issue of such process dysfunction. They may also not bring problems forward because they don't know how to solve them and fear criticism for their failures.

Culturally, the leader has to make it clear that it is not only OK to bring process issues, training issues, whatever issues to the attention of the leadership, but also that it is an important part of the job.

In conclusion, the culture you expect and communicate might go something like this: "Be proactive. Take the initiative. Be a good team player and do your part. If you lack the skills, get with your supervisor and we will train you as necessary. If we can't do it internally, we will get you the help you need elsewhere so you can be successful. If your immediate supervisor is given the opportunity to guide/help you and doesn't respond, you're welcome to come to my office as your functional leader. There will be no recriminations for your initiative. As the NIKE slogan says, let's: Just Do It.

"All things are ready, if our minds be so." -- William Shakespeare

View more from Larry


Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Download the most comprehensive OpEx Resport in the Industry

The Largest Leadership-Level Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Event

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards Video Presentation

Proqis Events Schedule

Proqis Digital

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards

Welcome to BTOES Insights, the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news.
300x3001c (1)
24097-Proqis-Media-Pack-Banner-300x300
ACCESS 50 VIDEO PRESENTATIONS
Access all 75 Award Finalist Entires
RESEARCH REPORT 2021/2022
BTOES AWARD - NO DATE
BTOES UNIVERSAL GRAPHIC - NO DATE
Subscribe to Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Insights Now
btoes19.png
png
Virtual Conference
SPEX  - Proqis Digital Event Graphic
png

Featured Content

  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Technology & Communications: IBM
  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities: Black & Veatch
  • Best Achievement in Cultural Transformation to deliver a high performing Operational Excellence culture: NextEra Energy
   
Operational Excellence Frameworks and Learning Resources, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation and more introductions
  • Intelligent BPM Systems: Impact & Opportunity
  • Surviving_the_IT_Talent_deficit.png
  • Six Sigma's Best Kept Secret: Motorola & The Malcolm Baldrige Awards
  • The Value-Switch for Digitalization Initiatives: Business Process Management
  • Process of Process Management: Strategy Execution in a Digital World

Popular Tags

Speaker Presentation Operational Excellence Business Transformation Business Improvement Business Excellence Process Management Continuous Improvement process excellence Process Optimization Process Improvement Leadership Award Finalist Case Study Digital Transformation Enterprise Excellence Change Management Premium Lean Organizational Excellence Lean Enterprise Lean Six Sigma Execution Excellence Capability Excellence New Technologies Changing & Improving Company Culture Agile end-to-end Business Transformation Enterprise Architecture Execution & Sustaining OpEx Projects Lack of/Need for Resources Leadership Understanding & Buy-In Culture Transformation Adapting to Business Trends Changing Customer Demands Failure to Innovate Integrating CI Methodologies Lack of/Need for Skilled Workers Lack of/Need for Support from Employees Maintaining key Priorities Relationships Between Departments BTOES18 BTOES From Home RPA & Intelligent Automation Live Insights Article Technology Financial Services Customer Experience Excellence Healthcare Process Mining Healthcare and Medical Devices iBPM Process Automation Culture Customer Experience Innovation BTOES Video Presentations Exclusive BTOES HEALTH Strategy Execution Business Challenges Webinar Cultural Transformation Report Industry Digital Process Automation Manufacturing Digital Workplace Transformation Robotic Process Automation (RPA) IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies Automation BPM AI Lean Manufacturing innovation execution Robotic Process Automation IT Oil & Gas value creation Agility Business Supply Chain Planning Systems Engineering RPAs Insurance Process Design Speaker Article Digital data management Speaker's Interview digital operations Awards thought leaders Artificial Intelligence BTOES Presentation Slides Cloud Machine Learning Data Analytics Digital Transformation Workplace Intelligent Automation Banking and Capital Markets Transformation Data Finance Professional Services Education IT Infrastructure IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies Live Blockchain Interview Business Process Management White Paper investment banking BTOES BTOES19 Consumer Products & Retail Enterprise Agile Planning Government Operational Excellence Model Project Management Algorithm Analytics Insight Automotive and Transportation Banking Business Environment Digital Bank Hybrid Work Model Primary Measure of succes Sales Solving Cash Flow with AI business expansion revenue growth Adobe Sign Agile Transformation CoE Delivery solution E-Signatures Electricity Global Technology HealthcareTechnologies Innovation in Healthcare Relationship Management Transportation Accounts Receivable (AR) Big Data Technology CORE Cloud Technology Cognitive learning Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) Logistics Services Operational Excellence Example Risk Management business process automation transformation journey Covid-19 Data Entry Digital Experience Digital Network Digital Network Assistant (DNA) Digitization Drinks Enterprise architecture as an enabler HR Internet Media NPS Net Promoter Score Program Management Portal (PgMP) Six Sigma Sustainability TechXLive The New Era of Automation Automated Money Movement Banking & Financial Services Biopharmaceutical Blue Room Effect Capital Market Creative Passion Digital Transformation Workplace Live Digital Workforce Digitalization ERP Transformation Effective Change Leaders Finance Global Operations (FGO) Financial Services Software Frameworks Hoshin Planning Human Capital Lean Culture Natural Gas Infrastructure Natural Language Processing Organizational Change Pharmaceutical Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Project manager Reduce your RPA TCO Supply Chain Management Sustainable Growth The Document is Dead The Fully Automated Contact Center Transformation Initiatives Workplace Analytics eForms eSignatures 3D Thinking BEAM BFARM BTOES17 Big Data Processing Building Your Future Workforce in Insurance Business Analytics Business Growth Business Process Governance Centralized Performance Monitoring System Communication Creativity Digital Technologies Digital Technology Educational Psychologist Energy Management Health Insurance Health Maintenance Organizations Hospitality & Construction Human Centered Design Integrated Decision Approach Integrated Decision Making Intelligent Document Processing Kaizen Medicare Moodset for Excellence Natural Language Processing (NLP) Offering Managers Oil and Gas Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Photographing Price and Routing Tracking (PART) Process Design Document (PDD) Product Identifier Descriptions (PIDs) Python Quote to Cash (Q2C) Resilience SAP Sales Quota Team Work Telecommunications Text Mining Visually Displayed Work Culture master text analytics virtual resource management

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120

Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Webinars

 

Delivered by Progressive Thought-Leaders

 

Watch On-Demand Recordings For Free

Watch On-Demand Recording - Access all sessions from progressive thought leaders free of charge from our industry leading virtual conferences.
 

Best-In-Class Training

Delivered by the industry's most progressive thought leaders from the world's top brands.
Start learning today!
 

BTOES From Home - On-Demand

The premier Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Conference. Watch sessions on-demand for free. Use code: BFH1120