To have a clearer understanding of how lean can be applied to service industry we need to understand that flow in service industry is mainly information and not physical product. To be lean, a service orientated company should seek to eliminate wastes that hamper flow of information. Here is a list to help you get started.

Types of wastes Examples
Waiting

 People waiting for information and work gets delayed.
Information waiting for people to act on.
Information not delivered to the right people on time.

Inventory

High amount of information that could not be processed or understood.
Too many sources of information.
Keeping unneeded information.

Excessive Processing

Too many approval and review processes.
Excessive steps in information processing.
Processing non critical information.
Too many keystrokes.
Too many forms to fill.

Over production

Unnecessary detail and accuracy.

Transportation Information handled by multiple people before arriving at user.
Looking for information.
Data reformatting and re entry.
Unnecessary motion

Walking to information.
Looking for records.
Retrieveing printed materials.

Defects

Errors in data entry and reporting.
Errors in information provided to customers or vice versa.

Identifying wastes is the beginning of the process. Once you identified them, how do you quantify wastes in the service industry? The answer to that is by comparing the process with customer demands. We have developed a program  to assist organization in the service sector to learn to see wastes, quantify it and use the most common and effective tools to eliminate it.

For an illustration on how wastes elimination works,check out our blog and our success stories.