Lean management is the leading concept used by companies to reduce waste in processes, increase productivity and continuously improve operations. In the production area, the lean approach is already widely used compared to other stages of the value chain. It is therefore important to extend the lean philosophy to other fields – such as the administrative area – in order to exploit further potential within the company. That this is possible was vividly demonstrated by Judith Fellsches, partner at LMX Business Consulting GmbH, in the exchange of experiences on March 04, 2022, using numerous examples and solution approaches based on them.
Typical types of waste in administration are, for example, over-information and reactive power, insufficient or delayed information, waiting for decisions or redundant activities. Reducing this waste can help increase productivity and efficiency as well as reduce cycle time. Compared to manufacturing, however, it is somewhat more difficult to implement lean management directly in the administrative area. This is due to the fact that – easily comprehensible – information is not “tangible” and “interpretable” compared to raw materials or semi-finished products that are processed in the production process.
Administrative work processes are not as easily measurable as is the case in production. In manufacturing, it is easier to track whether an employee has made a wrong move. Many challenges also arise at the interfaces between departments or even within company units due to inadequately defined or lived processes. Outdated master data, undefined interfaces, long decision-making processes, a lack of prioritization, too many IT interfaces, tangled data files and uncoordinated delivery times are just a few examples of absent or unapplied lean management.
Despite the aforementioned major challenges, Lean Management can be successfully implemented in administration – to the delight of management, employees and, of course, the customer. Lean is not to be understood as a “project” with a temporal end, but as a transformation. This transformation can be divided into three phases: Awareness, Transformation and Stabilization. It thus starts with raising awareness of the holistic Lean approach and moves into a permanent “living” of Lean Management.
The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is run by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).