3 Techniques for Making Your Office As Organized as a Toyota Plant

Ever since Toyota put Lean on the map for businesses, the idea of efficiency has been tied to the bells and whistles of a shopfloor. Crack open one of the hundreds of Lean books out there and you will find examples involving presses, polishers, smelters and packagers; a laundry list of manufacturing applications.

However, in the past couple of years, other industries have begun to apply the principles of Lean to their operations – taking the learning out of the factory, and into our hospitals, schools and offices.

Almost every organization has administrative functions. Whether it is a street vendor selling tacos out of a trailer or a multinational corporation, there are forms to be sorted, taxes to be filed and bills to be paid.  We recently launched a brand new series titled “Lean Office”. Click here to learn more.



Here are some of the ways you can apply that Lean learning to your office, making it as efficient as a Toyota plant.

  • Build a Skills Matrix for your Office.
    Tired of trying to track down the one person in the office who knows how to update the website? Build and update a Skills Matrix that shows the proficiencies of each team member. The visualization of skill sets allows everyone to know who is capable of filling in when others are falling behind, and who can provide training.
  • Establish and Display Standard Work.
    Consider the process of changing the toner in the office printer. This can be a tricky process, even when you know how to do it. Illustrate the steps with drawings or pictures and write out, in clear language, how to replace the toner cartridge. Then display these steps right next to the printer so anyone can carry out this process without having to search for the instructions.
  • Create an information flow map.
    By visualizing the flow of information in an office, you can identify ways in which that flow is hindered in its path toward the customers. Every organization has a customer, whether it is the public who use their service or products, other businesses or simply an owner or board of trustees. You can learn how to properly create an information flow map in our course “Lean Tools for the Office”, and in doing so, eliminate waste in your processes.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. You can implement visual schedules, andon signals for managers, 5S at workstations and so much more. Once you start thinking with a Lean mindset, you will find hundreds of ways to improve your office functions.

Click here to send us your latest office Kaizen ideas and we will feature you on the üttana blog!

April 2, 2015

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