Recently, the GaMEP marketing and operations team participated in a lean office exercise to map out our data entry, event registration, and email marketing processes to find ways to reduce inefficiencies, integrate software systems, and improve our client experience. Are you interested in how lean tools could help your company’s front office systems? Below are a few examples of lean office exercises that could help your company eliminate redundant steps and non-value-added activity and empower employees to identify opportunities for continual improvement:
Swim Lane Diagram: When an administrative process takes too long, generates errors, or otherwise frustrates the users, the first step is often to get a cross-functional group of people in a room to map out the current state. This builds a common understanding of the full process and how different stakeholders contribute to it. A Swim Lane Diagram can clearly show the sequence of steps, the role of each person or function in the process, and where handoffs occur. This view of the current state is critical in designing countermeasures to improve quality, speed, and employee satisfaction.
Process Mapping Before Software Implementation: There is no shortage of excellent software products available for office applications, but knowing what you need from that software is critical for success. Mapping out the current process to show who uses what systems, how data is generated, shared, and modified, and what workarounds are in use can make choosing and adopting new software much more productive. If you don’t understand the current process and what improvements you need to make, your team is likely to be frustrated with the result.
Customer Discovery: Because they are often far removed from the end customer, administrative functions at a manufacturer can easily become inwardly focused. To combat this internal optimization, consider the mission of the organization and how the office staff helps contribute to that mission. Ask questions like, “Who is our customer? What value are we providing? How do we measure success? What do we need to improve?” Involving internal and external customers in the conversation about improvements your office needs to make can yield tough feedback, but it will focus your team’s efforts on the right targets.
Think one or more of these exercises could fit your team’s needs, but don’t know how or where to start? Register to attend the Lean Office & Administration course on October 20th, or contact your region manager for more information.