Introduction and challenges

For a long time, administrative process efficiency has not been considered a driver of organisational performance with efforts being focussed on seeking productivity gains in manufacturing plants.

However, sales, general and administrative Functions (SG&A) represent a significant portion of operating expenses. Their highly variable cost highlights the opportunity to manage these costs.

The transformation of support functions is increasingly industrialised, with the creation of shared services centres and the implementation of more standardised processes. These changes make Lean Management techniques extremely relevant to support functions, as they bring their operations closer to those of manufacturing plants.

The methodologies used are the same as those in an industrial Lean Management approach (time in motion, value stream mapping, kaizen events, gemba, spaghetti bowl analysis, etc.) but require a strong understanding of the functional domain to ensure recommendations are relevant.

As in any Lean Management approach, the added value for the customer is central to considerations. Often, the customer of administrative processes is operations, who communicate specific expectations to each support function. An example of this would be ensuring the arrival of materials and components on production lines for procurement teams or preparing accounting information quickly and at the lowest cost for accounting teams.

How we can help

For each process, Argon & Co mobilises functional and sector experts who are also experienced in Lean Management techniques. We favour a pragmatic approach, aimed at generating quick benefits but also empowering stakeholders and embedding new behaviours to sustain results.

The experience of Argon & Co’s teams, their business expertise and their ability to work as closely as possible with both operational and functional teams enables us to support our clients in the implementation of lean office:

  • Quantification and detailed analysis of all tasks and expenses of the departments concerned
  • Assessment of the need and value to the internal (and external) client of the different tasks and activities
  • Sizing of risk linked to the removal of certain no-value tasks
  • Defining objectives for the various cost reduction managers to challenge and enable behavioural disruptions
  • Supporting the enterprise in implementing defined actions, managing the organisational change and monitoring the benefits