Lean Office

Lean Office full version

|| The principles of Lean Manufacturing or Lean Production can be applied to productive, administrative and managing processes in order to improve efficiency, and therefore competitiveness on multiple fronts.

Applying this methodology within the management offices can be very difficult because you have to analyze a workflow that generates an intangible product: information. The information, as well as physical products, is created, edited, revised, sent, saved... all these activities require time and costs.

Le 7 types of waste, 7s or Seven Wastes, can be found at:



When an office generates too much information and communicate before they are needed for the next process, he realizes in fact a waste. These documents if too detailed, if received in advance of the calendar production are likely to be based on incomplete data, set aside on the desk, lost or simply never read

Contrary to what you might think even resorting to e-mail can cause an overproduction of data especially when you bring in cc (carbon copy) more recipients than are actually needed. In these case the time spent reading mountains of useless emails slows down the production process.

In these cases, the tools are a valuable support as they allow:

  • define a shared calendar of activities so that the start date / end of the process are known to all users;
  • create a common database of knowledge where you can define the organizational structure of the company so you know what are the key actors to relay the information (responsible for production, plant, department...);
  • provide precise instructions for the development of the production plan, on the basis of customer orders and the calculation of needs.

The tools provided by our platform jpiano®, make the necessary information available only to users and to the participating stations and only when needed, avoiding unnecessary waste of time to search for information and documents related to current assets.


Loss of time, waiting and delays

Whenever you encounter a setback, a meeting started late with a bureaucratic practice awaiting approval, you experience moments of inactivity.

Moreover, the lack of updated information readily available often causes employees to lose time in the search of the latest version of the desired document.
In these cases, the tools are a valuable support as they allow:

  • have production data easily accessible and up to date;
  • maintain electronic tracking of documents in order to facilitate the research and consultation;
  • sequenced easily the necessary activities with an automatic update of the beginning/end provided in case you experience the unexpected;
  • simplify communication with remote facilities, suppliers and customers configuring notifications and alarms for possible delays in delivery, reporting complaints and non-compliance...



The lack of periodic cleaning of desks, files and e-mail encourages the exponential growth in the amount of: report to be signed, pending approval ordiniin or being released into production, documents stored for periods longer than those required by law...

For stocks can be understood also supplies office stationery: for example excessive stocks of toner... can be a waste as they can spoil or become obsolete even before being used (this happens when you change the model of the printer company).
To eliminate such waste, also in offices, it may be useful to adopt a computer system that allows you to:

  • quickly identify and report the onset of a real needs, taking into account any available stock and the different policies;
  • electronically manage the entire cycle of the purchase order in order to streamline the process and make it more efficient.



Moving unnecessary documents, reports or practical from office to office is a typical defect of the offices insufficiently digitalized

However also the continuous movement of electronic files from one database to another or email can actually be a waste as it prevents the rapid location of the file in question.

Through specific IT functions you can:

  • generate the necessary reports in electronic format and use it directly, avoiding unnecessary printouts;
  • view technical drawings or play multimedia files pointing to a shared repository to avoid unnecessary movement of material.



The preparation of processed with errors or missing information may lead to a significant slowdown of the entire production process.

Some examples are the measures or incorrect tolerances in technical drawings that can generate non-compliance.
With the help of specific computer applications present in our platform it is possible:

  • insert a series of checks before releasing the production plan. In this way, any errors would be identified, reported and resolved minimizing the impact on the production process downstream;
  • create data structures appropriate to allow verification situations in which essential information for production are missing.



Moving staff from one office to another to end a practice, collect prints, obtain the necessary documents or simply ask for information.

This type of waste is attributable to a non-optimized arrangement of the offices, archives and shared resources between different departments (such as photocopiers, fax machines or printers).

The use of a centralized database The use of a centralized database would allow employees to quickly access the information they need directly from their workstation. In addition, in the case of paper documents, it could be traced electronically the exact position of the documents to speed their location .



Providing unwanted services such as revisions redundant, multiple requests for approval or inspections perpetually could be a hindrance to production rather than a facilitation.

Furthermore, the use of outdated technology or their improper use can cause delays in the generation and processing of the information. With the help of specific computer applications it is possible:

  • organize the data structures in order to avoid repeatedly enter the same information;
  • define specific workflows to prompt approval of specific steps only when absolutely necessary;
  • properly manage the links between different data structures so that such information must be consistent and updated.


The eighth waste

In addition to the seven wastes that are met in the production processes, when it comes to Lean Office, or more generally to the principles of Lean Manufacturing applied to the world of services, it is of fundamental importance also to dwell on the underutilization of people and their actual skills.

In the service sector the personnel costs are the main burden on a company's budget. The use of resources with skills not corresponding to real needs leads to a waste. It is if the resource proves to be overqualified (as it would be underpaid and would not add value for the customer to the finished product) and when it is found to be low-skilled (the final product reflects the quality standards required by the customer).

For this reason, in some cases it may be useful to employ a computerized tool that helps to properly distribute the workload taking into account the actual ability.


If you want to explore further, or you are interested to know what we can do for your business, contact us without obligation.