Lean And The Age Of AI And Robotics

The advent of technology has developed in such a powerful way that nothing could remain the same. The beginning of the XXI century completely changed the way we perceive work, so much that it’s almost impossible to imagine a workplace without some type of AI. The global market has also undergone radical changes in the past few decades; this has also significantly contributed to the rise of AI and robotics in Lean management implementation.

The Connection Between Lean Management and Technology

With the development of the Internet and machine technology, work has changed in such a way that it’s now very hard to keep track with it. Innovations and breakthroughs occur on a daily basis, and every good company should do its best to make good use of this. By implementing AI into the work process, your company can profit in numerous ways. You will be able to:

  • track the work process down to the last detail
  • recognize the weak spots and bad links within the company
  • optimize the operational process according to the workload
  • conduct an efficient assessment on a regular basis
  • make accurate predictions

Over the past several decades, some companies were slow on implementing technology in Lean management, and they’ve all suffered considerably because of it. By failing to do this efficiently, these companies gambled with their future in the market. In today’s world, it is crucial not to make this mistake.

The Benefits of Using AI and Robotics in Lean Management 

There are numerous benefits of implementing AI and robotics in Lean management of your work process:

  • Lower cost of work. It actually costs less than paying employees, especially in the long run; it can be more reliable, more efficient and more productive.
  • Independence. It doesn’t depend on the majority of external factors, which means an increase in the overall productivity. It is practically not affected by distractions, work fatigue, or drop in standardized production values.
  • De-stressed employees. If the majority of the work process is automated, workers have more time to spend on creative tasks; they also don’t have to worry about every single detail, which means they can focus on the “big picture”.
  • High precision and accuracy. There is no fear of error-making, since everything is automated and worked out down to the core level. For example, robots are much more effective at detecting than humans, and software is much more reliable when it comes to data assessment or data storage.
  • Increased employee safety. The risk of work injury is much lower due to the automated aspects of the work process. Once programmed, AI can commit virtually no errors; thus, it makes the workplace much safer for the employees.

What Does a Company Need in Order to Implement AI and Robotics?

The most important thing a company needs is skilled workforce. With the advent of modern technologies, the entire work process has altered – and the need for old-time employees is gone. Nowadays workers need to possess a different mindset and a modern skillset; otherwise, they won’t be able to adjust to the requirements of the modern-age technology.

For example, there will be less and less need for repetitive human work; instead, humans will need to expand their knowledge in terms of machine-control and process management. This doesn’t mean that the importance of human labor will be diminished – just the contrary. The only difference will be in the roles human workforce assumes. Humans will have to learn more technical skills, but there will be a greater need for those who haven’t been able to contribute enough in the past (e.g. people with disabilities).

A company also needs a solid business plan. Without a detailed plan, the implementation process might not go as planned. This is why it’s important to invest enough time into the preparation for the implementation process.

What Are Some Examples of AI/Robot Implementation in Lean Management?


This is one of the most well-known examples of integrating technology into the work process. Since there is no need for employees to be physically present at the place of work, they can complete their tasks using mobile communications, such as phones or laptop/desktop computers.

Industrial Robots

By being programmed, automated and independent, industrial robots can accomplish their tasks with much more efficiency and accuracy than humans. Industrial robots significantly speed up the work process, which is reflected in a company’s economic impact.

Machine-Learning Platform

This type of technology is widely used in various industries, and its main advantage is a significant contribution to prediction, classification, and assessment. Thus, a computer system gradually develops while “learning”. As a direct result of this, work performance on a specific task grows exponentially.

Decision Management

Decision management has a goal of automating a company’s decision-making system as much as possible, through the use predictive analytics and similar software solutions. As a result of this, the cost of decision-making within a company drops significantly, whereas the overall efficiency grows.

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Common Logistic Inefficiencies That Are Killing Your Bottom Line

Logistics is often viewed simply as the moving of goods from vendors to customers or from manufacturing facilities to warehouses or distributors. In actuality, it’s a lot more than that. Logistics is a process that involves the entire company, and inefficiencies within it can significantly impact the effectiveness of your business. Find out what they are and how to make sure they do not slow your company down.

Bad Information Management

In business, information is everything. Without relevant information, you won’t be able to do anything. There can be no planning, no insight into the work process, etc. By missing out on just one item, or piece of information, you risk destroying your company in the long run – and this simply cannot happen.

Therefore, the most important thing is to obtain all the relevant information for your business. The best way to do this is through an information management system. There are two ways you can go: custom solution or an existing one. If your company is in good financial standing, and you can afford it, we recommend that you obtain a customized system.

By integrating this information management system into your work process, you will be able to track all of your orders, warehouse inventory, supply chain, delivery, etc. Your entire business will go through a thorough transformation from the bottom up. Information management is the key to your business success.

Poorly Trained Employees

This is another part of logistics that many businesses somehow overlook. In every part of your company, trained, knowledgeable employees are an essential component of the entire work process. And logistics is no exception to that.

Your employees have to be fully trained for the position, and they need to possess enough knowledge to deal with their daily tasks and challenges. If you have staff members who were trained years ago, they won’t be able to contribute in their full capacity; they have to be trained anew, and learn everything about the new developments in the industry.

SOP That Needs Reworking

SOP or standard operational procedure is the axis of your work process. Just because you have a SOP and your company is working – doesn’t mean that you have the best SOP around.

Oftentimes, a good SOP doesn’t have too many steps. Some of the best SOPs have only a couple of steps, but they are all well thought out and tailored to the needs of the company. Therefore, you have to make sure that your SOP is in touch with the company values and your business requirements. SOP must address all the aspects of the work process, enabling them to work efficiently. Also, remember that a good SOP always includes regular quality control.

Neglecting KPI

KPI, or key performance indicator, is a very important aspect of logistics, and you should give it your utmost attention. In essence, KPI is an objective measurement of your work progress, based on two factors – 1) your business goals and 2) your standard of performance.

Just any a physical measurement instrument, KPI tells you how fast you are going toward your business goals within a given time frame. In order to be effective, KPI must include measurements from all the key aspects of logistics, such as:

  • order invoicing
  • inventory
  • purchase and supply
  • stock management
  • transportation

The more elements you include into your KPI, the more accurate its results will be.

Neglecting the Supply Chain

Supply chain is not some addition to your business. It is not an optional part of your business – it is your business. Think of supply chain as the bloodline of your company. If you block it, or don’t pay enough attention to it, your business will wither and die.

In order to make it as effective as possible, think of your supply chain as a standalone business within your company. It still belongs to your company, it works along with it – but it is also independent. Your supply chain is your connection to the market; without it, you are completely lost. The better your strategy for your supply chain is, the better your commercial results will be.

Be sure to have a supply chain with a good network design and solid supplier performance – both are equally important for its success. As mentioned earlier, your supply chain resembles a bloodline – in that sense, its network design is the system of veins and arteries and the supplier performance is a pulse.

No Strategic Planning

If you don’t know where you are going, you won’t get anywhere. This is where the importance of strategic planning lies. Your business, as a whole, needs strategic planning in order to survive, but so does every aspect of your business – including logistics. You need to develop a solid strategy for your warehouse, transportation, ordering, suppliers, vendors, etc.

Don’t leave anything to chance – each section of the work process has to be well thought out. Although you run your business on a day-to-day basis, you cannot allow yourself to plan on a day-to-day basis. Strategic planning requires seeing the “big picture” and thinking long-term.

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How You Can Use Your Data And Analytics To Improve Efficiency

The most important aspect of any business is gradual growth. Status quo is never beneficial for your company, because it will eventually slow you down and affect your efficiency. Once that happens, you will be past the point of no return. This is why it is essential that you keep growing and maximizing your potential.

One of the essential aspects of your business should be focusing on data and analytics. Sadly, many companies simply ignore this; yet, it is exactly what makes all the difference. Let us see how you can improve your business and increase your efficiency through data and analytics.

1. Learning More About Your Customer Base

By analyzing the data obtained from your customers, you will be able to learn more about them and direct the focus of your business to those aspects that really matter. If you have a product, or a service, the key is to present that to your customers in a way that best suits their needs and preferences – and get them to do business with you.

However, if you don’t know enough about your customers, you won’t be able to come up with the most effective business strategy. As a direct result of this, you will spend way too much time on the implementation of a business strategy that may not be nearly as effective, thus losing a lot of financial resources.

When you have enough relevant data, you can create the perfect customer profile; in turn, this will enable you to tailor to your customers’ needs in the best way possible. Your products and services will become a lot better, your marketing will become much more effective, and your overall productivity will increase exponentially.

2. Optimizing the Recruitment Process

Many companies lose a lot of time on the recruitment process, and one of the reasons for this is because they don’t make the best use of data and analytics. Before advertising a job position within your company, or thinking about expanding the workforce, you have to know exactly what you want to achieve – and how.

This is why it is important to conduct a thorough analysis of your entire company from the bottom up, paying close attention to every aspect of the working process. By analyzing the work process as a whole, you will be able to see which parts of it need some improvement. Your business data will show you exactly what you need: it could be a new position, or a rethinking of a work process, etc.

But there is really no point of employing more people unless you know what you are looking for. And the best way to achieve this is through analyzing your data. Therefore, be sure to conduct an analysis of your monthly, quarterly and yearly productivity. Once you do this, the actual recruitment process will improve, and you will get the right people on board.

3. Improving Decision-Making Abilities

There are instances when a company leader is faced with a hard decision and when making the right move becomes extremely frustrating. In times such as these, some managers listen to their “gut feeling” and reach a decision without a clear idea of why they did it.

Unfortunately, this often leads to terrible consequences, as the whole company suffers in every way possible. This is why it is important to consult your data when faced with hard choices and tough challenges. Making an accurate prediction is a delicate practice, which is why you need to lower the risk as much as possible.

By analyzing your past business activity, and comparing your business strategies, goals and results, you will be able to come up with the most viable solution and make the best decision possible. The more business data you consult and the more effort you put into your analysis, the better your final decision will be.

4. Moving Past the Competition

In today’s world, companies are coming and going faster than ever before. The competition is fierce, and there are simply no guarantees. Therefore, if you want to stand out from the crowd and gain the upper hand, you need to put your data to good use.

It is crucial that you know this one thing – every successful company out there is analyzing its data right now. Why should you be any different?  The biggest, strongest companies of today are all data-driven, and you are well advised to adopt this as your primary working principle. Make sure that you are analyzing your own data, as well as your competitors’.

There is simply no way to dominate an industry, or make a major impact, unless you know where you and your competitors are. You will learn where your competitors got things right, but also where they underperformed – which will enable you to come up with more effective strategies.

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How Lean Principles Can Turn Your Healthcare Company Into An Efficiency Machine

When it comes to Lean and healthcare, you really shouldn’t view it as just another program, or a business section that needs to be introduced. In fact, Lean is a complete transformation of a facility from the bottom up. You should look at it as a brand-new business culture that will help your company achieve groundbreaking results.

Once you implement Lean into your work community, you will see changes in the atmosphere, employee attitude, work efficiency, work habits and, of course – overall productivity. Lean is not something you do once and then forget about; it is an ongoing transformation of your work environment and everyone involved in it.

If Lean can be summed up in a single phrase, that it would probably be – gradual improvement. That’s what Lean really comes down to: it is a gradual improvement of a company, in every possible way. Furthermore, it creates a whole new set of professional values your employees can adhere to.

Lean unifies the whole work process around a single purpose, giving both the employees and patients a sense of working on a common goal. In turn, this results in outstanding results and numerous physical and psychological benefits.

Let us break down all the principles of implementing Lean management into your healthcare company. You will see all the ways in which your health care company can be transformed if you opt for it.

1. Increased Employee Engagement

Employees are given tasks which help increase their overall work engagement and productivity. They are allowed to come up with new ideas for improving their engagement, and discuss them with their colleagues. Communication among workers is smoother, discussions are more constructive and goal-oriented, and each problem is worked on until a solution is reached. Every new idea is welcomed, and every possible approach to the work process is given enough thought.

This practice has proved to be highly effective, as employees who speak to each other openly are more engaged and productive. The core value of this practice lies in its team-building aspects, as effective collaboration of the entire medical team can significantly reinforce all aspects of the work process.

2. Increased Efficiency

The entire work process is rethought and redesigned. The most important feature of the Lean practice is the creation of standardized protocols; these are designed in such a way that they cut all unnecessary aspects of the work procedure and reinforce its integral parts. Staff members are focused on problem-solving as one of the major contributing factors to the overall quality of the workflow.

Oftentimes, this practice turns entire medical facilities upside down, rearranging the work process in the best possible way. The biggest asset of this practice is the strengthening on the whole work environment, where every staff member knows exactly what to do and how to do it.

3. Reinforced Skillsets

The skillset of the staff members is their most important asset. Without skilled, knowledgeable workers, the whole medical facility can be compromised, and this could even lead to fatal consequences.

Lean methodology puts extra focus on the skillset of the workforce, making sure that every team member is absolutely equipped (professionally, physically and psychologically) for performing their given tasks. The work process can further be improved through the use of Lean consultants and facilitators, who apply the best practices for workplace optimization.

Staff members are treated as equal employees (each with their own skillset) and the entire work process is set to respond to an individual’s set of skills and responsibilities. As a result of this, delays are minimized, work volume is increased and turnover time is cut down significantly.

4. Increased Work Flexibility

Sometimes, when a situation requires it, the work process has to be adjusted to the new “environment”. In these situations, work flexibility is extremely important. Working around an emergency, and coming up with the most effective strategy is key for all medical facilities.

Lean implementation helps medical facilities improve their work flexibility and optimize their employees for all case scenarios. This results in better overall efficiency and increased productivity.

5. Reinforced Reputation

If a healthcare company or a medical facility works like clockwork, it will definitely show in their reputation among the clients and patients. Lean management helps healthcare companies reinforce their image among clients through consistent quality of services provided. Sadly, this is something that many companies choose to ignore.

With too many drops in the quality of service, a company jeopardizes its future in the market. Through Lean management, every part of the company will come together, turning the entire company into a healthy organism. When a company works perfectly, the service recipients will be absolutely satisfied – and they will spread the word around.

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How To Turn Your Executive Vision Into Action

Planning future actions is an integral part of any successful business, but this is oftentimes easier said than done. Even some of the most successful companies in the world struggle with executing their business strategy and setting long-term goals.

Here are some of the things you should do in order to maximize your potential for work execution.

Focus and Determination

Remember, the most important asset of any successful business is continual growth. In the long run, a business will be measured by its determination to grow and develop on a continuous basis. The pressure is hard, and the challenges are numerous – but it is essential that you keep growing as a company. Otherwise, everything will collapse like a house of cards.

Unfortunately, there are so many companies that forget (or deliberately ignore) how crucial long-term planning is. If long-term goals are not set, and if there is no long-term strategy, your executive powers will diminish and your business potential will dwindle. Therefore, the most important asset of your company is – determination to set and achieve long-term goals.

Valuing All Tasks

If continual growth is to be achieved, business leaders must come up with effective practices. In today’s world, there are so many business leaders who don’t put enough thought into developing their business strategy. Others ignore the importance of small tasks and day-to-day work, focusing solely on what awaits them ten years from now.

Unfortunately, this is not a good approach. And the reason is simple: all long-term success depends on completing those tedious, minute tasks during every single workday. That is the key element: there are no small tasks and secondary work activities. It all must work itself into your company’s “big picture”.

You probably know the saying “the chain is only as strong as its weakest link”. Well, the same principle can be applied to business: “your company is only as strong as the attention you give to even the smallest of tasks”. Once you realize this fairly simple principle, and start incorporating it into your work culture, you will witness massive changes in your productivity and business results.

Maintaining Flawless Communication

It is practically impossible to maintain business success without proper communication in the workplace. Every business leader must be aware of the following: unprocessed information is useless. And one of the ways in which information is processed is through good communication in the workplace.

All the business elements that come into play must be given solid information to work with. Every company has multiple sectors, and each of those sectors is further divided into smaller work environments. The lack of communication, or even poor communication – will result in unsatisfactory business results. When we say “communication”, there are two main aspects: communication of ideas and communication of orders. One cannot go without the other.

Communication of ideas focuses on presenting the employees with the company’s vision and general ideas: brand identity, work culture, etc. Every employee has to be aware of this at all times. Communication of orders revolves around day-to-day activities that are essential to the long-term success of the company. Orders stem directly from ideas, but they are more on the practical side of things. It’s like hardware and software on a computer – both are equally important.

To put it simply, when it comes to communication in the workplace – no stone can be left unturned. Everyone, from the CEO to the last employee in the chain must be connected into a single network of work information that’s spread across the company.

Every company is based on a single story: stories are what drives us, and we absolutely depend on them. Make sure that your company story is a positive one, and tell it to all of your employees, top to bottom. This will enable you to execute your vision effortlessly.

Maintaining Discipline

Discipline is essential if you want to achieve your business goals. If there isn’t enough discipline in your work process, you will experience numerous problems along the way. It is important that you have a work calendar and adhere to it throughout the work week.

Oftentimes, you might find it hard to stay on schedule and not miss an important point – but this is when it’s absolutely necessary that you do it. Remember this: your priorities don’t mean a thing unless you back them up with your work discipline. Discipline is an integral part of the execution process in any business.


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The Benefits of Lean

Lean is a customer-centric philosophy of continuous improvement to maximize value and reduce waste. Doing that, it improves the quality of services and products, subsequently benefiting the customer.

The focus of Lean is to minimize the expenses, workforce, and excessive activities in order to increase the efficiency and eliminate the costs. Therefore, the main idea of Lean is optimising the value-creating processes of the customers to finish the whole operation smoothly.

Lean provides an organisation with many advantages since the correct application of the Lean principles will achieve considerable benefits. The direct benefits are improving quality, smoother operation, more efficient business processes, providing solutions to cut down errors, reducing cycle times, managing process complexity, increasing team productivity and morale, reducing operating costs, reducing lead-time, and many more. All these benefits are possible if Lean is incorporated into your business.

Lean for Service Businesses

Service organisations are very different from a manufacturing company; however, they still have many wasteful processes that could be minimized or completely removed. Therefore, the philosophy of Lean in a service environment remains identical – to realize maximum performance and productivity with minimum resources, besides being more difficult to locate immaterial wastes.

The service companies are under the pressure to provide quicker response times, exceptional customer service, and support for the customers. Lean targets wastes and in that way helps to optimise the service processes. Either Lean will remove the wastes entirely or it will move them to a more efficient state.

The Benefits of Lean in Healthcare

Delivering quality healthcare efficiently is challenging. Healthcare processes have a large avoidable waste component, so Lean is the perfect quality improvement approach. It improves health and the quality of care for patients while saving resources and time. Minimizing waste is not the crucial goal but a means to improve services to the patient. Putting the patient in the first place requires a thinking workforce.

Some benefits of Lean healthcare are:

  • Reducing waiting time for patients
  • Improving hygiene
  • Improving the flow of treatment to patients, without mistakes and accidents
  • Making sure emergency patients are treated with the best protocols without delays
  • Standardizing procedures that create the basis for constant improvement while creating a stable working environment
  • In Lean, all obstacles are found and eliminated, so, the number of patients attended increases, while working with the same equipment
  • Ensuring pharmacies have an optimal level of stocks and avoiding losses due to the expiry of medications
  • Preventing medication errors by error-proofing processes

Applying Lean in healthcare has resulted in improving patient satisfaction, decreasing readmission rates, and decreased the length of stay. The entire workforce has become motivated and they understand that they are identifying and providing value to their patients.

The Benefits of Lean in Law

Increase client profit and satisfaction by reducing waste

The clients get better service by removing waste from legal processes and the work is done faster. In addition, the department stays on the budget since there are fewer costs associated.

Optimize the firm

This includes reviewing the responsibilities of the firm and employees, making sure, if the right people are performing the right tasks. This allows the lawyers to concentrate on the higher complexity jobs.

Minimize over-processing

The amount of work on cases can be disproportionate to the value of the case and that troubles the legal system. One of the solutions of Lean is to improve the communication between lawyers and clients, so the lawyers can understand what exactly their clients want and offer the best given their budget. Also, this means increasing the cooperation with the opposite client.

Use the talent in your office

Lean encourages new ideas from all employees that can result in excellent improvement. It makes the work environment more relaxed, resulting in new and better strategies.

Process mapping

One of the most important benefits of developing a process map is better resource management. It identifies duplicate and wasted effort. It establishes boundaries for a project, preventing the project to spin out into areas that are not part of the plan. Also, it makes sure whether the right level of legal resource is used at every phase. This requires every employee to develop a well-defined picture of the issue and the procedures to address it, keeping everyone involved on the same page.

The Benefits of Lean in Finance Organizations

Lean thinking provides an operating methodology to businesses as banks, investment and insurance companies to maintain process excellence and constantly improve results. It provides with cost-effective solutions and reduces the risks during an economic dip. So, Lean helps transform accounting and finance into high-performing and customer-focused organizations, focusing on delivering value.

Focus on value from your customers’ perspective

It prevents you from performing entire processes that do not produce value but make you waste time improving them.

Eliminate non-value adding activities

Lean is efficient at the identification and elimination of extra processing and overproduction, unnecessary transportation, rework, waiting time, and other non-valued added activities. By mapping the process and finding these tasks, improvement teams can address the waste and considerably improve process performance.

Turn problems into opportunities

The Lean approach to quality views problems as opportunities to advance process capability and improve customer value. It strives to resolve the problems by addressing the source of their origin, as soon as they happen. Once their source is identified, the team modifies the process to avoid the problem from reappearing. This is made by depersonalizing process improvement. The tactic is not to blame the people, but the process. One approach that works well is to refer to the process as the “systems and processes”. People are never reluctant to identify problems with the inanimate systems.

Lean is used widely in the service sector for maximizing value and improving the efficiency of the business. With applying Lean, the business gets more motivated employees, increased customer value. It helps the businesses to do their job better with a more effective strategy, resulting in better, faster, and more effective service to external and internal customers. From the better management of process complexity to improved team morale, it is clear that the benefits of Lean go far beyond the work itself.

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Lean Principles In An Office Environment

In order to make the most of what Lean has to offer, you should start from your office environment as the core of your work process. Once you effectively implement Lean into your offices, everything will fall into place, and you will notice a significant rise in your productivity.

Why is Lean important in an office environment?

The simplest explanation would be that Lean is there to increase the work process speed and reduce waste as much as possible. By helping accomplish this, it will add value to every task performed and, ultimately, will increase the productivity of the company as a whole.

The work process speed is increased by cutting away everything that slows it down, such as unwanted or unnecessary tasks. Waste reduction is achieved through elimination of everything that is considered waste in an office environment:

  • Processing errors (general rework, missing information, lost files, etc.).
  • Uncontrolled production cycles (producing too much or too little, depending on the business strategy).
  • Idle time (awaiting approvals, delays in the work process, being late, etc.).
  • Unnecessary motion (staff members moving around the workplace without any particular need or connection to their given tasks).

Why should you implement Lean in your office?

First of all, Lean will help you easily identify all the problem areas in your work surroundings. You will spend significantly less time on figuring out what to do, and you will have a clearer understanding of your potential business strategy.

Furthermore, you will increase your efficiency and save a lot of financial resources along the way. Once your office environment becomes “Lean-friendly”, all of your staff members will know exactly what they need to do, and their targets will be met much more effectively. By doing away with everything that is redundant, you will be able to focus on the essential aspects of your work process; in turn, this will cut costs and contribute to your financial wellbeing.

Also, implementing Lean into your office areas will simplify the entire work process for your company. You will have a much clearer picture of the priorities, while the paperwork gets cut down to the bare minimum. Lean principles are excellent when it comes to prioritizing work tasks within a given process. You will find the most logical way in which to perform a certain task and, as a direct result of this, the whole work process will flourish.

Once Lean practices are fully integrated into your work process, the morale of your employees will become stronger. They will know exactly what they are doing, and the entire working atmosphere will be much better.

How to implement Lean in an office environment?

1. Redefining meetings

Business meetings have to be as short and effective as possible. A good practice would be to set a strict time for meetings within each working area (department, section, etc.) and to maintain the meeting schedule on a continuous basis.

Enough time should pass between two meetings, in order to improve their effectiveness. Each meeting should have only a couple of topics on the agenda, or only one topic – the most important one. During the meeting, only relevant questions should be asked.

2. Introducing the 5S Principle

This is a Lean principle for structuring the work process through strict categories and sub-categories for better work optimization.

  • Sorting – separating the necessary from the unnecessary
  • Simplifying – doing away with everything that makes the work process complicated
  • Shining (cleaning) – regular cleaning and inspection of the office area
  • Standardizing – establishing strict guidelines for keeping the work area organized and fully-functioning
  • Sustaining – keeping the office productivity on a certain level, and coming up with new ways for improvement
3. Ongoing employee education

Organizing workshops, seminars, lectures and educational classes for all staff members, making sure they are all fully engaged and attentive.

This way, employees will be highly informed on the new developments within their industry, and they will be more capable of focusing on their daily tasks in the most productive way possible.

4. Employee cross-training

By being cross-trained for multiple positions, employees can:

  • learn a set of different skills
  • become more aware of the entire work process
  • understand the importance of every work task
  • increase their own work flexibility
  • stay focused and motivated throughout the work week
  • become deeply engaged in the work process
  • develop problem-solving abilities
  • value the importance of teamwork
  • embrace company culture and work ethics
  • increase company productivity on a continuous basis

These are just some of the Lean principles for an office environment, but even small changes can bring considerable improvements to any office environment.

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What Aspects Of Your Own Leadership Could You Improve Upon?

­If you are a regular reader of online magazines such as Entrepreneur and Inc.com, you are not a stranger to articles about a multitude of leaders failing, often repeatedly, before succeeding. Business magnates such as Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, and many others are examples of those who managed to overcome their failures; however, there are a lot more of those who never do. Being a leader isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone. Read our 10 main reasons for why leaders fail to find out whether you and your company are in trouble. 

1. Having Unclear Goals and Vision 

In order for a company to function properly and succeed, it needs to work towards accomplishing specific and realistic goals. Then the leader and his team know what exactly they are aiming for, it is possible to determine what actions need to be taken in order to reach the goal.  

On the contrary, when there are no definite goals or a specific vision to reach for, everything that a company does becomes disorganized and progress becomes difficult or impossible to measure. A leader is responsible for setting these goals and vision and guiding the team towards accomplishing them.  

2. Not Leading by Example 

There is a difference between a boss and a leader. The former gives orders, treats people as disposable assets, and focuses on getting things done, while the latter gives directions, views their employees as equals, and cares about motivating and empowering their employees.  

An effective way of motivating employees is leading by example. That can be done by, for instance, knowing how to do tasks themselves or at least have an understanding of how they need to be done, working alongside the team, and personally displaying the qualities and skills that are expected to form the team. That will ensure that the team isn’t simply following the orders, but the leader and will be intrinsically motivated to do the highest quality work.  

3. Not Delegating Efficiently 

While there are leaders who tend to only give orders to the team without doing much of anything themselves, there are also those who fall into the other extreme – not delegating enough or not doing it efficiently. The ability to delegate is extremely important if the company is willing to scale and expand. 

The leader of the company can only take on but so much work and if they are unable or unwilling to delegate they are impeding the company from being able to grow and take on more work. Inefficient distribution of tasks can also lead to workers either not having enough work or having too much of it, neither one of which is beneficial for any business.  

4. Not Learning and Changing 

The only constant that exists is that everything constantly changes. In order for a company to excel and become successful, continuous education, training, and adapting is paramount. By not being open to change and innovation, the leader risks making the company old-fashioned and can fail to deliver the best possible services to the customer.  

Startups are being created daily and competition never ceases. If a leader fails to continuously evolve, the company’s customers may eventually choose to switch to a different business that is providing more modern services and more effective results.  

5. Trying to Please Everyone 

There are plenty leaders who try to be nice and politically correct with everyone, especially in the early stages of business when everything is very uncertain and unstable. The truth is – that not everyone will like you. That’s an absolutely normal and natural part of being human. By focusing excessively on trying to please everyone, leaders risk burning too much time and effort on unnecessary engagements, may lose focus, and act in disagreement with the company vision and values.  

Instead, it’s more productive and effective to focus all efforts on those who hold the same values and viewpoints and actually support the company and what it’s doing. This will not only help to cater the correct audience in the best way possible, but will also keep the business and the team on track.  

6. Having All the Answers 

A good and intelligent leader knows that they don’t know it all and don’t have all the answers. They also are confident enough to admit that to their team and ask for advice or guidance if necessary even from those who are lower in rank.  

Sadly, not every leader thinks this way; and many choose to talk when, in actuality, they should listen. Such approach indicates that the leader is self-absorbed and tries to flaunt their own ego rather that see what is best for everyone in each given situation. This is a recipe for certain failure because it can not only lead to wrong decisions being taken, but also drastically demotivate the team.  

7. Not Giving Enough Constructive Criticism 

While this may seem counterintuitive, criticism is actually crucial for growth and transformation. It is inevitable that employees are going to make mistakes or perform tasks or processes in the most efficient way. Feedback and criticism are essential to identify inefficiencies and guide the team members to identify the ways in which they can improve.  

The key word here is – constructive. Not every criticism is the same and it needs to be presented in a constructive way in order to yield a positive result. In certain scenarios the leader and the team may benefit from a training in intrapersonal skills in order to learn how to give constructive criticism in a way that motivates and empowers others. 

8. Not Praising Enough 

One of the most popular incentives to encourage employees to excel, is a financial one, when, in fact money is not the only thing that makes people tick. A 2017 study has discovered that, more than anything, workers need recognition and validation that the work that they are doing on a daily basis matters.  

In order to build a successful, progress-oriented team, leaders need to acknowledge that they work with people and, in order to stay intrinsically motivated, they need to know that what they are doing is noticed, recognized, and has purpose.  

9. Poor Communication 

In order for goals to be met and tasks to be executed optimally, they need to be understood correctly. A leader needs to know how to communicate with their team clearly and efficiently or they may end up needing to micromanage everything or cause the team to deliver inadequate work.  

10. Not Taking Care of Physical and Mental Health 

Last but not least, a leader must not forget that despite everything that they are trying accomplish they are also human. In order to stay continuously motivated and push forward, every leader needs to take care of their physical and mental health. 

By skimping on sleep, not nourishing and hydrating themselves properly, not having an adequate social life, time for hobbies, and enough downtime, a leader risks to develop health issues, depression, succumb to stress, and even burn out, none of which are beneficial for their company.  

Now, it’s your turn. Are you a leader or an employee? Are any of these mistakes hindering the progress of your organization? How? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below.  

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Common Mistakes In The Service Sector And How You Can Solve Them

Along with the advancement of new technologies, customers are becoming more sophisticated, more informed and self-reliant. This puts an additional strain on the companies involved in the service industry as it requires them to become sharper and more effective. Any mistakes and inefficiencies can eventually affect customer satisfaction. The good news is that mistakes can be corrected. See if you’re making any of these and what you can do about them.

Mistake 1: Cutting Costs by Offshoring

In this day and age, many companies choose to offshore a portion of the work that they perform, such as customer service, as a means of reducing costs. While in certain cases offshoring can be an extremely effective way of acquiring talent that would otherwise not be available, doing it solely for the purpose of cutting costs can actually hurt your business.

Offshoring often creates disconnection both within the team and in the business-customer relationship. When customers reach out to the companies, they expect a certain kind of service and may be disappointed if what they receive if not what they were looking for.

Solution: Optimizing Existing Employee Productivity

Since the main argument for offshoring is cutting costs, the same can be achieved by training employees how to optimize their productivity and “eliminate the waste” in their work process. Some of the ways in which it can be done are the following:

  • Teaching how to manage time more efficiently
  • Instructing how to set goals and plan in advance
  • Teaching how to prioritize tasks
  • Discovering additional skills and talents that employees have and offering ways to use them in the workplace
  • Providing clean and comfortable working environment that motivates the employees

Mistake 2: Following Outdated Business Processes

When performing different business processes either with your team or by yourself, you follow a set of steps that makes a task easier and more efficient. Frequently, those used by the company are considered to be set in stone and are rarely if ever changed. Given that everything around us constantly changes and evolves, business processes may become outdated. This may not only decrease the quality of service and make your customers trust you less, but can also demotivate the employees.

Here are some signs that indicate that you may need to update your existing business processes:

  • Dissatisfied customers
  • Increase in negative feedback or reviews from customers
  • Demotivated colleagues and/or employees
  • Missed deadlines
  • Increased expenses

Solution: Regularly Redesigning business Processes

In order to avoid or solve this mistake, business processes need to be continuously revised and updated. And that should be done with the help and input of the employees, because they are the ones who know what and why does not work as intended.

In order to streamline business processes, you can follow the steps below:

  1. Create a schematic of your current process.
  2. Identify the existing weak links. In order to do so you can pay attention to your customers’ feedback. What frustrated or dissatisfies them? What do they complain about? Don’t forget to also pay attention to your colleagues, subordinates, and employees. What frustrates and deflates them? What take them too much time to complete and causes them to miss their deadlines? What requires additional funding?
  3. Redesign your existing processes to eliminate the weak links. Make sure you find a way of involving your team in the process as they may have unique ideas of how these problems can be approached.
  4. Take the actions necessary to implement the changes. Take into consideration the potential expenses that may be required, e.g., additional software or other resources.
  5. Monitor the changes implemented and whether they have brought the desired result.

Keep in mind that changes won’t always equal to immediately improved results. Sometimes, you may be required to adjust the process multiple times. That is not only normal, but natural.

Mistake 3: Lack of People Skills

Some of the greatest mistakes that are made in the service sector are often caused by lack of people skills such as the ability to listen and deal with conflicts and criticism. Because of this, those directly working with customers may not listen to them properly, argue with them, and leave customers feeling like they are being treated like numbers rather than people.

Most standard workplace trainings cover the technicalities of the job, familiarize workers with company policies and standards. However, very rarely they cover essential skills.

Solution: Training Staff for Intrapersonal Skills

Some of the most required interpersonal skills in the service sector are:

  1. Active listening: paying attention to what someone else is saying and responding accordingly
  2. Empathy: understanding how someone feels and being able to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”
  3. Criticism: how to offer constructive criticism without offending and how to receive constructive criticism without taking offense
  4. Disagreeing: how to respectfully disagree during an argument
  5. Communication: the ability to correctly convey ideas verbally and non-verbally
  6. Negotiation: coming to an agreement with someone who has a conflicting opinion
  7. Problem-solving: effectively solving personal and team problems
  8. Teamwork: ability to effectively complete tasks as a part of a team

These are not only effective in improving employee-customer relationships, but also those between employees, both of which are important for any business involved in the service industry.
There are multiple ways in which interpersonal skills can be improved, such as taking an online class, attending an interpersonal skills class, or hiring a consultant.

Are you making any of these mistakes? What are your approaches to solving them? Don’t hesitate to share your opinion with us.

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What is Lean?

Lean is an approach for waste eliminating within a variety of processes. A Lean organisation cares about the customer value and focuses on increasing it continuously. The ultimate goal is to deliver perfect value to the customers through a process that has no waste! Simply – maximizing customer value and eliminating waste.

It has two main intentions: to satisfy the customers and to do so profitably. The customer satisfaction is what Lean focuses on at all times. If what they do does not provide value to the customer, it’s a waste! Lean’s practitioners often make a wasteful process more efficient and end up getting better at other tasks that they didn’t even consider at first.

What Is Waste?

This is a good question since the majority of the “product” is in the minds of employees. In Lean, waste is defined as activity, product, or process that does not enhance value to the customer. Some sources of waste are:

  •  Unused employee ability: Not involving employees in process developments
  • Overproduction: Generating tests, reports, and other unnecessary analyses
  • Defects: Rework due to mistaken requirements or inputs; mistakes in trying to fix the problem
  • Waiting: Waiting for input, feedback, or decisions,
  • Inventory: Uncompleted analyses, tests, and reports
  • Over-processing: Needless tasks, activities, and processes

Employing Lean to any organisation can boost productivity, provide a systematic method for process improvement, and reduce uncertainty.

Lean Development

The history of Lean goes back many years. Lean Manufacturing is a name that has been around for a while now, originally created within the book The Machine That Changed the World by James Womack, Daniel Jones, and Daniel Roos.

Lean originated with Henry Ford and his storied assembly line. However, the philosophy we know today really starts with Taiichi Ohno who methodized the Lean Management Philosophy and Practices into the Toyota Production System.

Toyota set out to be better than the rest of the US Automobile Industry. They achieved their success particularly through the application of Lean Manufacturing Tools and the Lean Principles. So, it’s safe to say that Lean begins with Toyota and the expansion of the TPS. The term was actually coined to describe Toyota’s business by the research team headed by Womack.

What Is Lean Really for?

To understand what Lean really is, you first need to understand why it was developed. Lean was developed to improve efficiency by simplifying the operational structure to understand, manage, and perform the work environment. Lean emphasizes the significance of optimizing workflow through strategic procedures while eliminating waste and being adjustable. All these concepts have to be approved by employees who create the products and start processes that provide value.

Every process contains some element of waste if it has not gone through Lean multiple times. If done properly, Lean can create vast improvements in productivity, material costs, and cycle time. Reducing waste along whole value streams produces processes that need less space, capital, and time. This leads to services and products with lower costs and fewer defects when compared with traditional business systems.

The companies are then capable to answer the changing desires of the customer with high quality and variety, low cost, and fast turnaround. In addition, information management becomes more accurate and simpler.

Although Lean developed mainly within manufacturing, it is not restricted to it. Today, it is applied to almost every industry. It is evenly applicable to service industries like healthcare or within office-based administrative functions. It can improve client interaction, inventory management, and teamwork.

Lean for Production and Services

So, it is a common misconception that Lean is fitted only for manufacturing. It is suited for every business and production process. Lean is a way of thinking and acting for the organisations, not just a cost reduction program. Lean thinking can structure the organisations from the ground up. Nowadays, the teams, companies, and organisations are encouraged to seek third-party experts who can offer coaching and advice.

Lean is used by businesses in all services and industries, including governments and healthcare. For example, American healthcare organisations such as Virginia Mason Medical Center and ThedaCare, have been working on their “Lean transformation journey” for over 10 years. Many others are in their early stages of applying Lean to improving doctor offices, hospitals, and dental practices.

Lean is the way a company operates, not just a short-term cost reduction program. The term Lean Transformation is used to brand an organisation moving from an old way of thinking to Lean thinking. It transforms the whole way on how a company manages a business. It is about making problems noticeable and widening your team members’ critical thinking ability, which will help them solve the problems and enhance work processes.

Lean can be used to manage several other office processes for manufacturing companies, like cutting the time for closing the books at the end of each quarter. Thus, the management aspects of Lean are possibly more important than the actual methodologies or tools of production themselves.

Lean Software Development

Lean has also been adapted to the software world, including “agile” software development and the wider term “Lean software development.” This led to the “Lean Startup” program that uses Lean Principles not just to the software and technology development efforts, but also to the design and constant development of the business aspect of a company.

What is more, Lean is even being used in financial services firms and law firms. It is also used in military, state, city, and federal government levels. Lean is also being used in universities and public schools.

Lean Engineering

Lean engineering helps organisations become more competitive and original while optimizing resource proficiency and saving money. It is an approach to engineering that influences

  • creation and management of engineering intelligence
  • team structures and processes
  • technologies used to optimize for proficiency, and
  • leadership practices within engineering organisations.

It eliminates waste while creating more value for the customer.

Lean is a constantly developing philosophy and because its function is different for each company. The good news is that every company has a great opportunity to advance using the Lean techniques.


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