Transactional Office Lean Process Improvement

Transactional processes are an integral part of every business – manufacturing, sales, service, medical. They are everywhere around us. So why would they not be a major part of any Continuous Improvement program?

By definition, a process is a collection of activities with an output of value to a customer, whether internal or external. In the manufacturing world, it’s easy to see process flow. We start out with a raw part and then shape it by removing and adding material, finally assembling and packaging it into a finished product that has a purpose.  Read more to understand more about Office Lean processes.

How to Know if Lean Can Work for You

What is Lean?

Lean is mostly a common-sense methodology that requires identifying waste in your processes and then applying tools to reduce or eliminate waste.  Often people new to Lean don’t understand some of the basic linkages between aspects of Lean as discussed in this article.

Lean is defined as “eliminating waste” in processes. Much of this is common sense, although some tools, or ‘countermeasures,’ in Lean can be counterintuitive.

The 8 Wastes as recognized in Lean can be remembered using the acronym DOWNTIME or TIMPWOOD. It's important to remember that these wastes are all symptoms of an underlying problem in the process and it is necessary to get to the root cause of the problem that allows or requires these wastes to occur in order to eliminate them. For instance, imagine a purchase order (PO) being processed to give to a vendor. The PO needs to be written so that the customer receives exactly what is expected when it is inspected and the product conforms to all applicable specs.

 How to Have More Effective Meetings

Many Typical Meetings
How many times have you ever walked out of a meeting unsatisfied with the result? You go to the meeting on time only to find out that Fred is late again, as usual. Maybe you go into a meeting thinking we’re going to discuss operations issues. The meeting starts that way but then the conversation drifts to topics you can’t control, like traffic, the weather, or school calendars.

 

How I Assess Your Operation

10 Things I Look For
My job allows me to visit many plants, and my clients often want to know if I can help them improve their operation. When I evaluate an operation, I look at the implementation of hard, Lean tools, as well as soft tools such as evaluating culture, which can be defined as ‘the way people agree to treat each other’.
I have completed these evaluations formally using an audit sheet and a resulting score, but these are the top ten questions that I typically consider when I tour a shop. They form the basis of discussions with my clients during subsequent meetings.  All of these tools fit under the umbrella of continuous improvement (CI).

Lean Six Sigma for Dummies (a Primer on CI)

What are Lean and Six Sigma?
Too often, writers of Lean topics assume their readers grasp the subject matter as easily as they do. This article, on the other hand, is intended for people who have trouble spelling “Lean.”
The word “Lean” is commonly defined as “the elimination of waste.” But it has recently taken on a wider connotation that also includes “having a mindset of continuous improvement (CI)”—the idea of always looking for opportunities to make the things we do better, faster, cheaper. The word’s more modern definition also incorporates the idea of creating a CI culture in organizations and having all people participate in the changes. Imagine how much further an organization can progress when everyone is involved in CI, rather than just the CI leader or a small team!

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