Share
Explore BrainMass

Lean Organizations

The student was required to do research on the two questions below. Be sure to check the attachment at the bottom of the solution as it will provide some in-depth information on how organizations in Japan provide a lean and creative work environment. (5sprogram.pdf)

Take some time and interview members of management within your organization or members of management within call centers. Customer service industries have to be lean and creative on a consistent basis due to their success being based on performance and cost per call. There are call centers that have had to close their doors because of not being able to balance lean and creativity at the same time.

Question 1 Can an organization be lean (i.e. efficient) and be creative (i.e. effective) at the same time?

I believe that an organization can be lean and creative at the same time if the organization has the right types of measurements and metrics in place. When it is necessary for organizations to become lean and more cost effective it cannot wait until an actual crisis happens in order for it to thrive without additional monetary help or filing bankruptcy or possible downsizing.

A good business plan will include the long and short term goals of the organization. If the plan does not have specific guidelines for leaner times, the organization or business can fail. In any organization there are ups and downs. The cell phone industry is a prime example of not being able to remain competitive with each other. This is where mergers start to come into play.

I am in the banking industry and hopefully this will give you a better perspective of how lean and costs can work hand in hand.

Market trends have to be followed closely and at times the business plan may need to be adjusted. Six Sigma and Kaizen are just two methods that use metrics and measurements to assist organizations to become leaner and more effective. These are methods that require teams of associate from different departments within an organization to analyze, observe, test and evaluate ways to reduce costs while at the same time remain effective. Sometimes the outcome can cause a company to scratch a project altogether or make minor changes to enhance a procedure already in place to make it more cost efficient.

With the economy the way it is now, it appears that many organizations are struggling because plans were not included to combat times when business is slow. More often the strategic planners have failed to closely monitor progress and non progress. Vital information has not been gathered or has been ignored and now the time has come to cut back.

Companies that thrive in leaner times are ones that have included ways to balance out their organizations and the associates they hire. Attention has been made in placing measurements, usage of surveys of both associates and customers (VOC) well in advance to ensure that the company can remain creative and at the same time save costs during lean times and in fat times.

Although some of our banks have had issues with needing government bail-out money to stay afloat, they are still here. One can take note that Bank of America and Citi-bank associates are still employed. That is not to say that later that it could swing the other way.

One example that brings to mind is Bank of America's 1st call resolution for their customers that call the call center. There is no longer the passing off of a call if the associate that answers the first time can take charge of the customer without going to another department. Being a former associate with Bank of America, I can say that they do take cost and efficiency very seriously. The biggest factor that is measured on a consistent basis is cost per call and the quality of the call. It cost more to handle that call if the call has to go to several different departments to take care of the customer. Bank of America constantly trains their associates to be able to handle the entire contents of the call without having to move that call around. Year to date, they are now measuring the amount of times that an associate hands off a call to another department. Since the calls are monitored, the manager can then assess the report and retrain an associate if necessary if it was something they could have handled.

Telephone Bankers are now being trained to handle all the aspects of the call including online banking. This is an added perk to the customer and reduces the amount of time the customer speaks to an associate. The voice of the customer wanted their issues and concerns handled with just one call. With this in mind, the bank has been able to reduce hold times and avoid passing off the call to another department. This also helps to cut costs as only one associate has handled the call.

The newest trend is mobile banking and this is yet another way of creative thinking in assisting customers without having to speak to an associate for balance and transaction information while reducing costs. Customers can now order copies of checks, statements, make credit card and loan payments all without having to speak to someone. In the past, customers had to call and speak with someone to make small requests.

Good executives will have more of a hand in the day to day operations in cutting costs and in assisting in finding ways for an organization to be more cost effective (leaner).

With this in mind, the associate can concentrate on growing the business as the mundane issues such as balance and transactions have been covered prior to the associate receiving the customer call if the customer still wants to speak to someone.

In an article written by Jeff Marshall, Financial Executive Editor in Chief; Ted Briggs the National Head of Sales and Marketing at Sibson Consulting states: "How can you sell effectively in a terrible environment?"You can't replace the concept of relationships," Briggs argues. "The best [answer] for those environments is customer needs identification, so you have the ability to [manage] the issues as they come up. Customers know when sellers are over a barrel. We're seeing a reassessment of financial decision-makers to see if the metrics they are using for performance and productivity are fitting in this environment." (Briggs)

References:

Financial Executive Making Sales Organizations More Cost-Effective in Lean Times http:accounting.smartpros.com February 2003 Financial Executives International
Reference: Kaizen and Lean Disciplines for Service Organizations and Institutions ... Kaizen for Effective Lean Management is about common sense, but as we have ...
www.managementthroughleadership.com/.../KaizenLeanDisciplines4ServiceOrganizationsandInstitutions.
First-Call Resolution Becomes Imperative. Bank Technology News | August 2008 ... Old Bank of America Swagger Could Be Gone with Branches ? Big-Bank Cutbacks ...
www.thebankingnetwork.com/emailthis.html?id...site=btn - Similar

Question 2

How can you reconcile the different demands of building an efficient and an innovative organization?

Demands that are made when an organization must become more creative and efficient can be great and overwhelming for all within the organization. For the most part, upper and mid-level leaders are caught off guard. As with any changes, there is sometimes opposition. Many times CEO's or Corporate executives will make decisions on behalf of the entire company without having all the facts or without having firsthand knowledge of what is involved in the day to day operations. With this particular question, there is a procedure or program known as the 5S program. This was a program created in Japan and the article is attached with the assignment. Within this article it gives specific ways on how to eliminate clutter and come up with a leaner and more efficient office.

Even organizations or departments that are not directly sales related have had to cut costs and still remain creative. Here are my views on handling the different demands and building an innovative organization:

?Employee Input
?One must remember that associate input is very important as they are people who do the work. Many times associates are overlooked and they may have the ideas and expertise to make their work-space/environment much leaner and a more effective place to work.

?Reviewing statistical reports/Insure that policies and procedures are being followed
Too often managers have overlooked something that seems quite small, but ends up being a big issue. For example, ordering prematurely without checking inventory or stock. The manager may have felt the need to order because the stock may have been moved elsewhere and there was no notification of the change.

?Communication: When there are changes that need to be made, they should be communicated in a clear and concise manner so that all may understand. Mid-level managers and associates should be able to ask what prompted the change. If possible everyone involved in the change should be notified at the same time. This will eliminate most confusion. For global businesses this can be difficult due to time frames.

?Company goals need to be understood by the associates and most importantly the voice of the customers cannot ever be ignored. I read a book in one of my business courses in which David K. Banner describes this and more in his book Designing Effective Organizations: traditional and transformational views. This is found on page 103-104. This will help to further define your paper. (See reference)

References

Reference:www.clamshellbeachpress.com/bookinfophp

Reference: Designing Effective Organizations: traditional and transformational views. Books by David K. Banner, T. Elaine Gagné - 1994 - Business & Economics - 480 pages Effective organizations "stick to their knitting." ? Effective organizations maintain simple form and lean staffs. ? Effective organizations balance ...
books.google.com/books?isbn=0803948484...

Solution Preview

See attached file 5sprogram.pdf for further information.

The attached file contains a program that Japan uses to insure that an organization is lean and creative at the same time. It does allow for employee input. The program is the 5sprogram and it is well worth reading if not fur this particualr assignment but may be useful in other assignments that you have.

We are in a global economic crisis and all companies have had to change the way things are being done in order to weather the economic crisis.

Question 1

Can an organization be lean (i.e. efficient) and be creative (i.e. effective) at the same time?

I believe that an organization can be lean and creative at the same time if the organization has the right types of measurements and metrics in place. When it is necessary for organizations to become lean and more cost effective it cannot wait until an actual crisis happens in order for it to thrive without additional monetary help or filing bankruptcy or possible downsizing.

A good business plan will include the long and short term goals of the organization. If the plan does not have specific guidelines for leaner times, the organization or business can fail. In any organization there are ups and downs. The cell phone industry is a prime example of not being able to remain competitive with each other. This is where mergers start to come into play.

I am in the banking industry and hopefully this will give you a better perspective of how lean and costs can work hand in hand.

Market trends have to be followed closely and at times the business plan may need to be adjusted. Six Sigma and Kaizen are just two methods that use metrics and measurements to assist organizations to become leaner and more effective. These are methods that require teams of associate from different departments within an organization to analyze, observe, test and evaluate ways to reduce costs while at the same time remain effective. Sometimes the outcome can cause a company to scratch a project altogether or make minor changes to enhance a procedure already in place to make it more cost efficient.

With the economy the way it is now, it appears that many organizations are struggling because plans were not included to combat times when business is slow. More often the strategic planners have failed to closely monitor progress and non progress. Vital information has not been gathered or has been ignored and now the time has ...

Solution Summary

This solution discussess how an organization can be lean and creative at the same time. Successful organizations will have a combination of employee input, market research and customer input.

$2.19