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photocopyThe results are in from Fern State University’s introduction to lean leadership techniques in its practices. The biggest surprise came from the dramatic improvement of photocopying efficiency, with a double-digit decline in energy waste.

“It was really amazing when we looked at the data,” said Office Manager Willow Franklin. “I never realized how many steps I used to take between my desk and the copy machine – it’s something like 25!”

After a thorough review of the office plan, Franklin’s department realized that moving the copier five feet to the right would save each employee between two and eight seconds of valuable work time.

“For me, it was a 50 percent reduction in steps taken,” said Franklin. “The improvement was so dramatic when I saw it on paper I started wondering what other changes I could mastermind to make my workplace leaner.

Franklin showed before and after photos of her desk, which reveal that she moved her stapler two inches to the left in order to be closer to her stapling hand and that she had repositioned her desk chair to angle it five degrees closer to the trajectory to the office rest room.

So, does she feel leaner?

“I love showing quantifiable results from what looks like little changes on the outside but make a big differences, said Franklin. “Funny, though, since our department has banned face-to-face conversations with colleagues because we were piling up too much wasted travel time between offices, I’ve gained 15 pounds and my doctor had to increase my hypertension medication. Walking to the water cooler to take my pills seems like such a waste of time – not to mention the extra trip to the bathroom I have to take after drinking that extra cup of water. It’s really inefficient.”

Franklin says she plans to take a copy of Lean Lean to her doctor during their next visit to make sure he gets on the same page with her. “He probably takes way too many steps each day going to see each patient.”