ABSTRACT Lean Six
Sigma tools have been increasingly employed also in the service industry,
however with different success as field studies have shown. The reason not only
has to be attributed to a poor Change Management, but can also be attributed to
the intrinsic characteristics of the Lean techniques, which have been tailored
to sustain a stable customer-takted pull-manufacturing principle. An office
workplace shows significant differences to a procedural shop floor environment,
as it comprises both, procedural and relational processes. The office
environment, therefore, cannot be described by a purely transactional shop
floor model—it necessitates a separate model, with a differenciated approach,
which covers the procedural as well as the relational aspects of office tasks.
Also the different characteristics of the transaction object as well as the
operation transformation and process governance do not allow an un-adapted
application of Toyota’s comprehensive Lean toolset. The approach of Lean for
the office environment needs a reinterpretation of the Lean logic and TPS Lean
tools for the procedural part as well. Therefore, different and adapted
approaches and tools are clearly necessary. The paper shows the objectives and
principles of Lean and why Lean manufacturing is also interesting to be applied
in the office environment. The differences between office and production jobs
are detailed and introduce the problem of lean application in the office. The
particular characteristics of the office environment are discussed and enable
to enter into the Relational Office Model. Furthermore, we explain the paradigm
shift which is necessary to take full benefit of the Lean approach in the
office environment, however without presenting the reinterpreted office Lean
toolset due to space reasons. This will be the topic of a next paper.
Cite this paper
Rüttimann, B. , Fischer, U. and Stöckli, M. (2014) Leveraging Lean in the Office: Lean Office Needs a Novel and Differentiated Approach. Journal of Service Science and Management, 7, 352-360. doi: 10.4236/jssm.2014.75032.
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