Lean Manufacturing Isn't Just for Manufacturing!


The principles of Lean Manufacturing have been used to reduce waste, improve productivity and reduce costs in manufacturing facilities for decades.  Companies like Toyota have used the systematic elimination of non-value added activities to improve lead times and better utilize production workers with great success. 

What is not as widely touted is the use of Lean Manufacturing in non-manufacturing settings.  However, the same principles that apply to eliminating waste in manufacturing can also be applied to many office operations, including:

  • Scheduling
  • Invoicing
  • Order Processing
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Product Design
  • Estimating/Quoting
  • Purchasing

Lean Manufacturing is about elimination of waste in any situation.  Consider how the eight wastes associated with Lean Manufacturing translate to the office:

  • Over-production - A full computer or physical inbox
  • Transportation - Walking an order to the other end of the office or facility for processing
  • Excess Inventory - Stacks of file boxes on an office floor.
  • Defects - Sending an incorrect invoice to a customer.
  • Waiting - Waiting for information to finish a quote.
  • Not Utilizing Talent - Limiting promotion in the office setting based on work experience
  • Motion Waste - Walking to and from the printer in another room.
  • Excess Processing - Filling out duplicate forms for a single activity

In our experience, there are as many, if not more, opportunities to improve productivity and efficiency in the office setting as on the manufacturing floor.  Contact Versatech today to explore ways for you to reduce costs by applying Lean Manufacturing principles to your administrative departments!