This week we are working outside the traditional lean domain of manufacturing to apply the lean principles in our finance area on a small process improvement. Transactional work processes are different from manufacturing processes however the lean principles and problem solving approach remain constant.
After our initial kaizen training session, our team started talking solutions within 8 minutes of collecting data on the current state. Some human tendencies are hard to change. It took a little redirecting to get the team to focus only on understanding the current state before jumping to solutions. And it came as no surprise either that we learned many new aspects and details about our problem to consider before we think in terms of countermeasures.
Some of the discoveries so far include:
Information is inconsistent in format
Information passes through several hands
We have to hunt and search for information
Information spends more time idle than actual processing time
Batch processes are firmly entrenched in the finance world
But probably the most enlightened discovery by our kaizen team is the fact this particular finance process should be thought of as non-valued added from our paying customer’s point of view.
Our lean journey in the corporate office has begun.