3 Steps to a Leaner Business
Lately, more and more business decision-makers have been implementing “lean” internal practices. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, here’s the basic idea: Lean strategy is all about reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and simplifying processes — cutting the fat from your business practices.
While going lean certainly sounds great for business, actually achieving it can be challenging. Lean enterprise transformation requires coordination and collaboration across silos. For traditional businesses with employees who are used to departmental segregation, getting on the same page enterprise-wide can be a massive hurdle.
The bureaucracy necessary to eliminate redundancy throughout an organization can be difficult to implement and enforce; on a human level, people tend to be stuck in their ways and struggle to break out of their established routines and processes. And, of course, there’s the cost — both real cost and the imagined cost that can prevent or hinder enterprise-wide buy-in.
You might be thinking, “My current processes work fine. If going lean is going to cause extra work for me and my business, why do it?” But as attractive as it may sound to stick with the practices you’re used to, especially if they seem to be working fine, the basic fact is that if you put the elbow grease into improving the way your enterprise operates, your work will be easier, your product will be better, and your customers will notice — period. Implementing lean practices into your organization will be difficult and will come with a cost. But the benefits of having a business that runs like a well-oiled machine far outweigh the disadvantages of a challenging transformational period.
Once you’ve decided to pursue lean processes, you need to choose a place to begin. Here are three great potential starting points:
1. Value stream mapping
This technique of mapping every process in the production path of a product or service can help you separate everything your organization does into two groups: value or waste. Anything that provides value to your customers is necessary, and anything that does not provide that value is classified as waste. This allows you to identify unnecessary processes and eliminate them for maximum efficiency.
Maintaining up-to-date value stream maps for all areas of your business enables initial examination and refinement of existing systems. It also ensures that as your business grows and changes, you remain aware of all your organization’s processes and how they fit into the overall structure of providing value to customers.
2. Document management software
Paper files are a notorious source of waste — the environmental waste of producing and discarding the actual paper and ink, the waste of physical space spent storing them, and even the waste of labor spent filing and searching them. Electronic document storage provides control, flexibility, and security. Easy search systems allow access to the documents your employees need in seconds, digital storage allows for turnkey data backup and customizable security systems, and digital documents can be available and accessible from any physical location, at any time of day or night, as employees need them. Never again will anyone have to worry about forgetting an important file or form.
Of course, poorly organized digitized documents will be no easier to manage than poorly organized paper ones, so it’s important to choose the right document management software to provide the features your organization needs. TransAccess offers a Content Management platform that makes file storage and retrieval effortless and instant. Enhanced search functions make it easy for users to find exactly what they need in seconds, and the user-specific dashboards make use of the platform easy.
3. Records management software
Records storage can be even more of a challenge than document storage for members of many organizations because lost or misplaced records don’t just inconvenience your business, they can even put you out of compliance or at risk of violating regulation. Not to mention that the security of business records is a top priority for most business leaders. A records management system can make managing records easy and quick as well as ensure that your processes are secure and compliant.
Records Management by TransAccess is a clean, user-friendly interface that is easy to implement, enables direct user-to-user transfers and file requests, and allows the creation of custom workflows, even automating your file routing and approval processes for maximum efficiency.
It’s a long, challenging path to eliminate waste — but isn’t it time to take the first step?