Lean In A Transactional World

Defects in Transactional Processes

Transactions are an integral part of a business. Some transactions are simple, however most are complex and grow over time into unwieldy processes that are no longer competitive and drain resources. Insurance and banking transactions, for example, can take days or weeks to complete, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and extra costs.

Defects in transactional processes are difficult to identify and can impact subsequent steps in the process. In addition, details are concealed on computers and desks throughout an organisation.

Surprisingly, some of the biggest opportunities and most powerful results in a Lean flow implementation come from service or transactional processes, even in a manufacturing company! Typically at least 70% of the cost of a business is outside of the manufacturing floor, yet these processes are often ignored in process improvement efforts.

Whether you need Lean manufacturing, Lean service, or some of both, the Lean flow system provides a comprehensive solution. Although Lean Six Sigma has its’ roots in traditional manufacturing, it also helps to improve back office operations in those same organisations. The Lean methodology is spilling over into services such as finance, public administration, transportation, customer service, insurance and I.T.

All Work Can Be Analysed as a Process

A process is defined as a set of activities linked together with some type of dependencies ending with an output (deliverables). Multiple inputs can enter the process at different points (activities or operations). So it does not matter if the output is a manufactured product or a completed transaction such as a “One Number Forecast” or “Financial Plan” or “Operational Plan”.

The primary difference between manufacturing and non-manufacturing processes is the “Flow Unit” – this is the base unit that flows through the value stream as the value is being added to it. In manufacturing, the flow unit is inventory. In transactional process it may be a document, report (paper or virtual) etc. In some service businesses, the flow unit is the Customer.

The key in Value Stream Mapping (VSM) is understanding what the ultimate customer values. The tools you use to map a process are just that – tools!. The primary goal of VSM is to visually represent the various activities and their linkages to each other. The team members (process owners) will then identify what is value-add and what is non-value-add.

The most basic concept in Lean and Flow process improvement is that all work can be understood and analysed as a process or series of processes. In non-manufacturing environments, we will focus on the “transaction” or customer deliverable to understand process capability and optimisation.

Optimising the Flow of Your Transaction Processes

Data is gathered to describe the process, so it can be re-engineered to eliminate wasteful activity and focus on delivering the desired results in the most efficient manner. This is as true of a service or administrative process as it is of a manufacturing operation.

Lean can help to optimise all service delivery processes by targeting wasteful processes and either removing them completely or move to a more effective state as part of a journey of continuous improvement. Companies in the service sector are constantly under pressure to deliver excellent customer service, faster response times and valuable support for their customers. A service company is very different from a manufacturing company, however it still has many wasteful processes that could be removed or reduced.

The key to maximum productivity is a well-designed process run by trained and flexible employees who can follow simple signals that tell them where their skills are most needed at any given time.

Lean has made inroads in the Services industry but has considerably more opportunity for implementation. Most of the delay stems from the belief that Lean does not apply to service functions. Although it may seem surprising at first applying the traditional Lean approach works very well in a service industry. Establishing a culture of Lean is the same as for any other industry.

Using Lean in transactional environments calls for a slightly different mindset. Clearly identifying the potential areas for improvement is challenging because almost all of the transformations are done electronically and therefore are privy to only a few people at any one time. Sometimes knowledge of the process may be limited to the step that the person performs and perhaps the previous or next step. No one owns the process and even determining who could potentially own the process is problematic since a wide variety of people have portions of the process under their area of authority.

Added to all of these difficulties is the organic nature of the process itself. When organisational changes occur, tasks are transferred to different departments or individuals and some of the knowledge of that transactional process may be lost or distorted. It’s like the electronic version of telephone, where the message is corrupted as it moves from person to person. Since no one person sees the entire process no one recognises the wastes.

It is imperative that those working in transactional environments learn to view their tasks as part of an entire process, be able to identify the process and find a way to determine process owners. Obviously this requires collaboration within and across departments as well as the desire and ability to claim responsibility for a process.

Another major objection to Lean is that Services are considered a creative, flexible process that cannot be standardised. While there is a kernel of truth to this objection much of the waste in a process stems from the belief that each customer request could or should be handled individually to best meet any possible customer need. In fact, the customer benefits from standardisation in the process because standardisation ensures quality and speed of service. Creativity is needed to design flexible points into a standardised process.

The best way to find this combination of standardisation and flexibility is to complete a VSM for the entire process (customer request to customer delivery). This method differs only slightly from a traditional manufacturing Value Stream Map. Many people across several departments may be needed to complete one VSM. It is important to include everyone not only to stay true to the Lean principle of going to those who do the work but also to identify risks, redundancies, opportunities for flexibility and to begin collaborating which will also be needed for the kaizen activities.
Lean is an obvious choice for those wishing to be more competitive and improve efficiency in the Service industry.

Acclino Solutions for Transaction Services

Acclino’s Lean Tools   and techniques can improve the customer experience by reducing unnecessary activities and unnecessary IT processes, whilst also providing solutions to cut down on errors, maximise employee empowerment and become more cost-effective.

Service companies have so many different processes to their business, that without effective coordination in place, mistakes can easily occur. Every task needs to include a thorough process of planning, writing, designing and proofing to generate a high enough standard of quality for their clients. These ongoing processes are not only extremely time-consuming, but with different tasks being assigned to different departments, project efficiency could also be compromised.

Lean implementation can help service companies to streamline their processes by removing tasks that are unnecessary and implementing a much more efficient approach. In doing so, Lean also provides a direct improvement on work quality and therefore provides added value for the customer.

Let us help you get started on your Lean journey in your service and transactional processes. Acclino’s innovative training tools can help you and your teams find better solutions for your transactional services. Get in touch with us here https://www.acclino.com/contact-acclino.com

Could Blended Learning Be The Answer To Your Lean Training Needs?

When you need to improve or change or replace a business process maybe you are asking yourself some questions, after all this is a big decision!

For example:

  • “I have heard of processes such as Lean and Six Sigma but which is right for my business?”
  • “Are there any real experts out there with the knowledge and experience to help us make this happen?
  • “How can I involve my staff so we get real buy-in and lasting change?”

Acclino has the answers!

Not only do we bring 30 years of experience across most industries with us, but we also bring our own integrated Lean-Six Sigma Training methodology. The Acclino Framework.

All that experience makes us expert at linking Lean, Six Sigma and project management to address any business process issue for your business with a little help from our world class Acclino process transformation framework and methodology.

What Do You Mean – Lean Training Based Solutions?

Well, most business process transformations fail and often it is because the employees are not fully engaged with the process or capable of participating effectively, or don’t appreciate the reason for it, or it’s too top-down…

So, empowering and enabling your employees is a vital link in the chain. A key to successful change!

Our training methodologies provide this link – along with our systems and experience!

The Acclino approach gives your company and your employees many benefits as you embark on the business transformation process.

  • It truly builds employee engagement to participate positively in the change process and overcome many of the fears that plague most change initiatives
  • It involves them from the start and makes them part of the solution.
  • It exposes the company to creative ideas and the benefits of the experience that employees can bring when they know their contributions are valued by colleagues as well as management.
  • It creates long lasting employee capabilities that are essential to embed the changes in the workplace.

It provides employees on completion of a portfolio with eligibility to apply for a University of Limerick certification award of 3 ECTS Credits at NFQ Level 8

All this is achieved by using Acclino’s state-of-the-art Lean Training, blended learning methodology that make the learning process far removed from the traditional learning process that employees are so often exposed to!

So What Is Blended Learning?

In the world of eLearning, the blended learning approach refers to the complementary use of eLearning in the standard education model, due to the benefits it offers on a broad scale, to name a few, video, self-paced learning, testing and quizzing, monitoring and feedback.

At Acclino we believe that this approach makes the user experience better.
Acclino differentiates it’sLean training offering by incorporating state-of-the art learning technologies including:

  • mechanisms to facilitate a virtual classroom
  • live webinars
  • team interaction
  • chat rooms
  • gamification and simulations
  • real-life case studies
  • plus on-line, interactive modules.

This is our version of blended learning.It is the combination of these multiple approaches to learning that produces outcomes for the business and for employees that are more effective than what can be achieved by traditional approaches alone.

Perhaps you can imagine the buzz that employees generate as they combine these learning experiences with real-life business problems. So motivational and engaging!!

Contact us here for more information or request a free demo on www.Acclino.com

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