Lean Success in an Administrative Environment
Initial success in Waukesha Bearings’ administrative areas indicates that lean can be applied wherever there are customers and a process to serve them, according to author Mick Corrie. Centralized office workflow puts customer demand at the heart of the process. Customer value, in terms of inquiry response time, was quantifiable from the future state map targeting one hour for repeat inquiries and one day for new inquiries. The most profound impact to the working environment was yet to come—climbing over the psychological hurdle of losing personal in-trays from one’s desk to the new centralized office workflow system. This change was necessary to achieve a visual process for the entire office. Whilst it may have been difficult in its execution, the centralized office workflow system has paid enormous dividends by placing customer demand at the heart of the process. It is analogous to a customer standing in the middle of an office pulling the whole team along.