Higher effectiveness of indirect processes and functions
Measurement, analysis and continuous improvement also possible with offices
A widespread belief is that IT applications can solve all the problems that occur within these processes. Actually, IT is obviously a fundamental component of the solution, but it can only partially cover the activities carried out (60/70% on average ). Also the IT application conceals the risk of making the waste automated, while it should be adopted only for the value-added work phases. Being mostly intellectual activities, one common belief is that they are difficult to document, measure and standardize.
In fact, the job contents of any indirect function include a creative component and an operational component, where the Lean principles and tools well apply. Those methods have demonstrated their effectiveness (productivity increases of 30/40%) and an increase of the service level are real (lead-time reductions of 50 / 70%). It often happens that at indirect function workplace you can detect what seem to be invisible wastes, which lurk everywhere: inefficient movements, queues and suspended operations, non-standardized manual processing, useless activities of serveral kinds, to be identified and zeroed by specific analysis and solutions as it is typical of any Lean management approach (in production, product design and other departments).
Needless to say, when delivering office management improvement support, we also work side by side with customers to modify the behavioral values of people, and ensure sustainability and continuous improvement over time. Even though a country known for its efficiency, Japan works heavily to improve the productivity of indirect functions and support processes and the business organizzations following this kinf of approach are very many.