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It Is High Time to Improve Your Administration Processes
Jana Musilová, 07. 07. 2016

In October 2015 we have extended our offer by a new training programme – the Master Study of Lean Administration. In this way we respond to the requirements and voice of our customers. A lot of Slovak and Czech enterprises make their manufacturing and logistic processes lean. However, the companies start to realise step by step that up to 50 – 60 % of the throughput time are created by administration processes and just here a great part of the losses (wasting) is formed.

ADMINISTRATION LIKE A "BLACK HOLE” 

In many companies the administration processes are like a "black hole” hidden in the overheads – we hide them more or less successfully. We know only very little about the structure of the individual administration processes, not to speak about the costs. Instead of that there is "blind confidence” or silent agreement that the processes cost as it is stated and we accept the fact that some outputs are delivered late or erroneously. 

HOW DO YOU WANT TO OPTIMISE ADMINISTRATION WHEN THE PROCESSES ARE DIFFERENT EACH TIME?

When there is an attempt to improve or optimise the administration activities a lot of employees use an excuse – "This is no manufacturing process, we have to think here. How do you want to optimise when we carry out the process differently each time?” In fact, is each task new? Are really all daily tasks that variable that there no repetition occurs? Are there no routine tasks? Let us be sincere. Although at the first sight the administration processes seem to be disparate and chaotic it is usually a point where lots of routine tasks can be found. 

Let us have a look at the HR department – no holiday request form is delivered to the department with the same data twice. Each time it is a different employee, different dates, different data and another department. However, the basic form of the holiday request form is always the same. The accounting department issues the annual reports every year but they differ year by year, however, the method how to put the data into the statements is essentially the same. If you look at it without bias you will find out that also in administration processes there are lots of different aspects of operations which can be shortened by putting them to repeated activities. Based on our analyses we can say that in an administration process there are three quarters of activities which repeat and only one third is formed by exceptions. These exceptions require special attention and therefore we perceive them as numerous. 

ADMINISTRATION DEPRTMENTS WOULD LIKE TO REALISE THEIR PROCESSES MORE EFFECTIVELY

They are aware of the complicatedness how the tasks in the administration processes are settled – duplication of work when data is processed, a long time-period of solving the tasks (orders, invoicing, claims, etc.), we always look for "something”, failing to understand information during communication, incomplete information, the documents are returned repeatedly, unproductive meetings, etc.   

All these facts have led us to creating a comprehensive programme. This training will deal with Lean Administration and activities which add value. We will orient on eliminating wastage, an activity which will bring value added to our customers. 

The goal of this programme is to ensure lean, effective and constantly working administration processes which will support other company activities.

WHAT WILL THE TRAINING "MASTER OF LEAN ADMINISTRATION” BRING TO THE COMPANY? 

The participants will learn how to analyse, optimise and make the administration processes more effective. 

The benefits of the training "Master of Lean Administration”:
  • the duration of the processes is shorter,
  • removing unnecessary bureaucracy,
  • increasing the reaction ability (flexibility) on customers´ requirements,
  • the effective communication and coping with conflicts, collaboration,
  • the systematic problem-solving,
  • the stable processes of high quality,
  • the personality development of employees. 

WHY A YEAR-LONG STUDY? 

The advantage of a year-long study is its compactness. Individual modules create a comprehensive view at the Lean Administration and the trained methods are tested during solving model situations and particular problems from practice. The participants will acquire knowledge and inspiration from other companies. 

A note – how many employees will participate in a two-day training of Lean Administration and how many of them will implement the acquired knowledge in practice immediately after finishing it? 

The study "Master of Lean Administration” is a year-long programme during which the participants will gradually get familiar with individual procedures and methods how to make the administration more effective. Already during the training they will implement their knowledge in the companies. There is one advantage – each participant will have a consultant with whom he /she will be able to communicate and receive advice during implementing individual elements. The implementation of the Lean Administration will be described in the framework of the project solved in the participant’s company. The participants will defend their project at the end of the study before a commission and will gain a certificate. The graduates will be bearers of changes in the administration area in their companies. They will be able to start the change process and to lead projects of making the administration lean.

ORIENTATION OF THE STUDY

The individual modules are aimed both at the professional and personality areas. Their contents continue each other and create a compact unit. 

During the kick-off session the participants will get acquainted with the facts why the lean character of the administration processes is important and how the functional/non-functional administration processes affect the whole company and its customers. Just the understanding of the lean management principles and the methods of its implementation create a basis for other educational modules. The participants will then learn what the basic steps of improving processes in administration are and which forms of Kaizen are used in practice – no matter if we are speaking about the level of individual or team improvement. They will learn which types of wasting in administration exist. As the improvement process can be considered a live organism we pay enough attention also to the organising and controlling of the processes from the management point of view. The administration processes can be found across the whole company, they link individual departments. Therefore considering them a whole during the optimising process is of key importance. The Value Stream Mapping which helps taking the correct direction serves for this purpose. 

However, not everything can be solved in a simple way. Some problems often require higher attention. We will be dealing with procedures during solving more complicated problems including methods offered by the Lean Administration inventory. Measuring the process performance efficiency and objective assessment of the workers´ utilisation are closely connected and belong also here as well as the objective definition of standards. The customers´ requirements are changed; every day has its specifics. Therefore the realisation of the key administration processes has to be thoroughly planned and managed. Just these two areas are covered by another module – the methods of planning and control – together with available IT tools.


Every manager knows how difficult it is to maintain any change. That is why the last but one module deals with standardisation and visualisation. The participants will learn how to realise the changes in specific administration areas. The final module is aimed at the issues of assuring and improving quality of the administration processes. 

During the study the administration modules will be linked with areas of developing the management skills which are an inseparable part of everyday life in the administration processes. The basis for any operation is the effective communication and collaboration. The conflicts are another area. Jack Welch says that until the societies are created by people, conflicts will occur. We will learn how cope with and solve conflicts and we will take them as an opportunity which can move us forward. The meetings and workshops are an inseparable part of the administration processes. In majority of companies we are working with people who consider meetings a boring necessity. They say the purposefulness, effectiveness, a clear goal/aim are missing, there are more participants than necessary, the performance issues are solved more frequently than the strategic ones. The same issue is solved at several meetings in the presence of different participants. How to introduce "a little more order” to the company meetings and to learn how to host a meeting and workshop effectively? These are also areas solved by the participants of the study "Master of Lean Administration”. 

WHO IS THE STUDY DETERMINED FOR?

This study is prepared for the employees and managers of the HR, purchasing, trade and marketing departments, IT and controlling employees. 

Conclusion
The Lean Administration concept is a set of methods and ideas which can be utilised for optimising the processes and utilising the existing potential more effectively. These procedures verified by practice can become part of your company know-how and also you will be able to organise your processes more effectively. The Lean Administration is able to organise its processes with minimal wastage and the processes will not "disappear” in a big black hole called overheads. The Lean Administration has (compared with the manufacturing area) a much greater potential for increasing effectiveness. In the manufacturing area we often look for a saving potential amounting minutes or seconds, however, our experience shows that there are often tens of minutes or hours and days in the area of administration. Start your way towards Lean Administration. Your customer will surely appreciate it.  
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