In today's business world, cost reduction and efficiency are priorities. The effort made to meet these goals is often a business function in itself. In this post, we discuss the idea of running a 'lean' business as a way to capitalize on opportunities to save and improve processes. This is referred to as a 'lean concepts' approach.
By adopting this approach, you can add time and money to your business, while at the same time eliminating things like waste, downtime and even added stress.
What do We Mean by Lean Concepts?
Everything that makes up a business — from hiring employees to ordering supplies, from production processes to promotion and everything in between — involves a process of steps to accomplish the goal. Lean concepts takes those steps and eliminates unnecessary ones, making the process simpler to carry out.
It is much like writing a book, where the first draft of 400 pages represents your current business model. After you edit out all the unnecessary scenes, you are left with 200 pages of content that all serves a purpose. What this translates to in the business world is a business that has eliminated all excess work and is run more efficiently by allowing only those things that move you toward your goal.
Three Lean Ideas Applied to IT Management
There are three main components that must be in place to apply a lean approach to IT Management — 1) standardize, 2) simplify, 3) make activities repeatable.
This entails making sure all technology is the same throughout the business. Everyone should be running the same systems, on the same device types and for the same purposes. In this way, everyone is able to work wherever they are needed and it is easier to find replacements for open positions when they come available. With standardized systems and processes, employees no longer need re-training on basic functions every time they change positions or departments.
When all technology is in sync, problems not only occur less often, but also are easier to find and fix. Backups become easier and people are all on the same page in regards to where things are and what needs to be done or where to find what is needed. By being able to troubleshoot easier, you save both time and money. Program reduction or consolidation allows both management and the workforce to focus on functions that matter most.
Make Activities Repeatable
Technology is constantly changing and it is necessary to upgrade a system often, especially in the IT management industry. By adopting a lean concepts model, any changes within a company can be completed quickly and with less stress. Training is accomplished in less time and there is less time spent on getting used to the newer system.
Through standardization and simplification, organizations can reach a state of business where it's not necessary to 'reinvent the wheel' each time a similar issue is addressed or a new client it attained. Identifying the activities that can be repeatable helps your employees focus on and excel at what they're there to do — solving the unique problems that position you as a valuable business partner to customers.
Eliminating waste, reducing costs and adding efficiency are all goals that make excellent business sense. The benefits of becoming a lean business will show through the improved service provided to clients as well as increased overall value of your organization. Anything that reduces excess translates into an increase in time and money for providing your product or service to your important customers and clients. Isn't that, after all, why you are in business to begin with?
We're interested in how your organization applies lean concepts to the many business functions you carry out. Do you have a process in place, a staff member responsible for keeping the company 'lean' or a schedule for reviewing your status? Let us know your ideas in the comments section below, and check out our free e-book below to learn how a solid data backup can help protect the critical data and systems that support your lean business.
Image credit: Libertic