What is a Lean Office?
A Lean Office is a place where the best customer service is offered by eliminating all the possible waste during production. It is accomplished by creating a smooth flow of work in the lean office and creating a standardized way of accomplishing work. The lean office operates using the principles used in lean manufacturing.
Lean Office vs. Lean Manufacturing
The Lean Office and Lean Manufacturing have many similarities but there are certain differences that are needed to be pointed out in order to have a more effective lean office.
One of the main differences of the two is the waste it produces. Manufacturing wastes are easily quantifiable and are quite visible. This makes it easier to apply problem solving techniques to lessen the waste. Office wastes, on the other hand, are difficult to spot. Office work usually involves a lot of people making it harder to monitor. It is also hard to monitor the pending work on each work station. Because of these factors, it is more difficult to make solutions to office waste problems.
Another difference between the two is the culture. Culture can affect the manner by which the company works. The manufacturing culture is informal unlike the lean office culture. Having a formal working environment makes it easier to assign responsibility and define job roles.
Also, it is easier to carry out changes in the lean office than in manufacturing. Changes done in the office are often minimal. Further training could suffice to make these changes. Managing changes and monitoring them is easier in a lean office environment.
The Lean office and lean manufacturing share most of the principles in reducing the waste in the workplace. Both follows the lean principles that started in the manufacturing sector but found its way to the offices and administrations. Although they do share some principles, the differences should also be noted to make a more efficient and effective working environment.