Guest Column | April 19, 2016

Get Lean With Your Workplace Document Processes

Dennis Amorosano, Vice President, BISG Solutions Marketing and Canon Information and Imaging Solutions (CIIS) Professional Services

By Dennis Amorosano, Vice President, BISG Solutions Marketing and Canon Information and Imaging Solutions (CIIS) Professional Services

Business leaders focused on improving document efficiency and reducing costs are always looking for ways to implement workflow changes that can positively impact their organization’s results. Additionally, the issue of protecting information, especially in an age of document theft, can shape up to be a daunting task and require extra focus.

Challenge areas such as reducing repetitive processes, organizing disparate systems, and enforcing policy changes can arise across all industries, especially those that are particularly data driven and document intensive. Using lean principles — typically applied in manufacturing settings — through the use of document capture, output services, and content management technologies can help improve your organization’s document management and automate document workflows with security features and reduced waste.

The MPI Group recently published a white paper that analyzed the use of lean principles in document management. MPI Group found many firms could gain significant improvements in workflow efficiencies and handle document challenges more effectively.1

To help your understanding of how these adjustments can make a difference, I’d like to review the pillars of lean document processes to help your business operate at its full potential.

Protecting Documents: In the 21st century, protecting intellectual property and securing documents is more important than ever before as the threat of online data breaches and identity theft seemingly lurk around every corner. A lack of proper oversight for document management can potentially cause irreparable harm to your bottom-line while putting your company, employees, and clients all at risk. Help protect sensitive files by monitoring document activity and access through the use of enterprise software. Enterprise software solutions focused on document security, tracking, and management can help log typical daily activities, such as copying, scanning, printing, and faxing, as well as route print jobs to specific locations or users to help limit the possibility that your documents end up in the wrong hands.

Enhancing Workforce Performance: By going lean, workplaces can standardize their workflows to assist in seeing that everyone is on the same page and tasks are being completed on-time. Information management software can help maintain the quality of your organization’s data by helping make sure all contributors have the most recent versions, document lifecycles are managed, and outdated copies are deleted. Standardizing workflows and utilizing information management software can optimize your document processes by allowing management to monitor progress, helping to make sure everyone is on track and identifying any potential delays or issues that may arise. With embedded business intelligence, information management solutions can also enable users to easily identify process bottlenecks allowing for continuous process improvement.

Cost And Waste Reduction: Many of today’s workplaces are stuck in traditional ways of communicating information, despite there being more cost efficient options available. While paper-based business processes have their place, making paper work more effectively within a process can be a key element in driving down cost, eliminating waste, and helping with aspects of securing information. Implementing a lean document process can help reign in expenses by more effectively using paper in the process; eliminating it where necessary and making it of higher value when utilized. By combining enterprise software tools in the areas of output and information management with today’s printer and MFP technologies, organizations can effectively integrate these tools into traditional business workflows to make business processes move faster, include security functions, and allow for information to be utilized in a more effective manner. When done well, the net result is often more efficient process, lower cost, and higher employee productivity.

A great way for your organization to get started implementing a lean document processes approach is to focus on the PDCA cycle:

  1. Plan: Determine what is most important to you and what your workplace needs to operate as it should. Is it security? Productivity? Once you determine your priorities, map the workflow of your documents, from where they’re originated to where they’re stored. This step will show you where your issues are and the opportunities to deal with them effectively.
  2. Do: Put the lean processes to work, from streamlining print jobs to requiring authentication for sensitive data, by delegating to those within your organization who will monitor activities and facilitate change. Experiment to see what works for your workplace and what doesn’t to get the most out of your process.
  3. Check: Look back at step two to analyze what went right or what went wrong in your procedure. Don’t just focus on what you did wrong or can do better last time, but also think of how you can apply what was effective to other areas of your workplace.
  4. Adjust: Check your progress regularly. Analyze reports and iron out any impediments to your workflow. Keep working to improve your document processes so that your business can operate like a well-oiled machine and adapt as needed.

The process of going lean is ever changing; what may work for your workplace today may not tomorrow. With a strong focus on the three pillars of lean document processes and leading imaging technology, your organization can continually evolve to improve efficiency and set yourself apart from others in your field.

About The Author

Dennis Amorosano is currently Vice President, BISG Solutions Marketing and Canon Information and Imaging Solutions (CIIS) Professional Services, having joined Canon in 1994; playing a key role in bringing the industry’s first networked digital multifunction system to market. During his 22 years at Canon, Mr. Amorosano has held several positions across Canon’s Business Imaging Solutions Group business units. In his current capacity, Mr. Amorosano oversees the marketing activities of products that cross BISG business units, with primary emphasis on office and production hardware and software solutions, and the management of Canon’s initiatives in the areas of document capture, vertical marketing, environment, security, and sales training.

Canon works to assists customers in developing their own lean document process through imaging technology and solutions in their businesses.

1 Note: The MPI group was not involved in the development of this article. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The MPI Group.