Lean management’s goal of continuous improvement is reliant upon optimal information flow. In other words, you’ve got to get the right information to the right people at the right time if you want to improve. If you’re managing an operation that keeps much of its information on paper, you might be struggling with the right people/right time/right information intersection.
A major part of the lean management philosophy is the elimination of waste, including excess wait time, excess motion, excess inventory, and overproduction. Paper documents, and the information they contain, can take time to locate (excess wait time). They generally aren’t ready to hand, and require extra physical effort to use (excess motion). And because of paper’s excess wait time and motion, people tend to generate extra copies (overproduction) which then become a storage problem, a security problem, or a sustainability problem.
Document digitization – converting paper documents to digital documents – streamlines the flow of information. Digital documents are organized into a file structure that can be searched with electronic speed. They can be accessed instantly with the touch of a screen or a keyboard. When everyone who needs the information can easily access the centrally-controlled digital documents, there’s no pressure to make multiple copies. With document digitization, there’s no more excess wait time, excess motion, or excess production.
Paper’s inherent properties run counter to the lean management philosophy. Digitization of paper documents supports lean management by reducing waste. Learn more about digitization, and get lean.
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