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Five Tried and Tested Ways to Cultivate a Lean and Green Office

Posted by on Thursday, February 28th, 2013

By combining Lean office principles with a plan to go paperless and streamline your practices, you move ahead of the competition. The result is increased productivity, cost savings, and a reputation as a company that respects the environment.

The Green and Lean Office

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The Lean method is a system that originated with Toyota. It is a program that reduces waste in all areas of manufacturing. The Lean method translates well to other industries and offices. Lean, Lean5S or Lean Six Sigma are all variations of the method.

Toyota was able to beat out the competition in the American market and become a world leader in automotive manufacturing based on these principles. They reduced costs while improving quality. The American auto industry was suffering from the recession. They took notice, and General Motors and other companies integrated lean practices into their manufacturing processes.


Many global corporations have adopted Six Sigma or similar methods. Companies such as Seimens AG, Ford Motor Company, Heinz Co., BAE Systems, DuPont and Geico are just a few of the major corporations who have implemented these standards to improve their services.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finds many benefits in the Lean method.

Go Lean Six Sigma

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Any organization can benefit by reducing waste, whether it is wasted material or wasted time.

The focus of the various Lean programs, as complicated as some of them are, is pretty basic – it’s a structured system to organize and improve processes. The 5S system takes its name from the five Japanese words; seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke, which translates to the following:

1. Sort: Eliminating what isn’t necessary, such as old equipment and outdated or damaged items.
2. Set in order: Arrange things in a way that makes it easier to work, and reduces redundancies or duplicate work.
3. Shine: Make sure your work area is clean and uncluttered.
4. Standardize: Reduce inconsistencies in the workplace, people doing the same job should be doing it in the same way. This may require training and testing.
5. Systematize: Maintain standards and review processes.

How do these steps help your company achieve a greener office?

By sorting through your equipment and tools, you can rid your office of outdated or damaged equipment. Consider donating items such as computers that are still working, but don’t meet your needs. Recycle anything that can be reused for a different purpose.

12 Ways to Green Your Office

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Setting your workplace in order allows you to become more efficient. Paper is passed from desk to desk, landing in a file cabinet or sent out. Teach your employees to use software that eliminates the use of paper.

By conducting more of your business in the cloud, and using a secure content management system, you will save paper, time and money.

Using a PDF to Excel Converter eliminates the need to print out information and manually input the data into a spreadsheet. Programs that can convert scanned documents to Excel go a step further, letting you recycle existing paper documents after extracting the data in them and making it available digitally. This eliminates redundancies and saves thousands of sheets of paper over the course of a year. Your employees will be able to spend that time in a more efficient way, and your company can use the money saved on paper to implement other green programs in your office.

Sustainable business practices need a holistic approach. Take stock of the way you run your office, and get rid of wasteful practices. Turn off lights that aren’t necessary, especially when the office is closed. Brainstorm ways to reduce the clutter, and eliminate the masses of paper through the use of innovative technology.

Organizations need to think outside the recycling box and look to a greener, paperless future. Going green and Lean proves that you are interested in saving your clients money, and providing a positive work environment for your employees. You’ll also help save the planet, one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper at a time.