The Services provision is known even from the ancient Greece, when the young generation was trained by eminent teachers. Meanwhile the service sector developed strongly over the centuries, so that today contribute 58% to Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is the pillar of the world economy. In Developed Countries the percentage is even higher, US 78.7%, Germany 69.5%, etc.
The recent Eurostat figures in the services sector accounted for 73.6% share of total EU gross value added of 28. The relative importance of services was particularly large in Luxembourg, Cyprus, Malta, Greece, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Denmark, which represented more than three quarters of total value added.
As Lean Services is defined, the standardized system functions, which only consist of activities that create value for customers, eliminating all forms of waste in order to meet their expectations for quality and value.
Unlike the Lean Production, which is the precursor to the methodology, the services do not have the added value that comes from the machinery and raw materials, but rely solely on processes and human resources. Moreover there is not a single application model, but they are provided in accordance to the nature of services.
According to the results from international studies, companies which have applied the principles of Lean Management, enhanced functions were occurred, with a significant increase in sales, minimizing processing time by 70%, reducing labor costs by 26% and errors by 40%. Sectors in which the methodology is primarily applied are companies operating in the Financial Sector (Banks, Insurances, Leasing, etc.), Health Organizations, Airways, Super Markets, Governmental Organizations, etc.
Especially Health / Hospitals organizations have many sources of quality problems and failures, which is a real challenge for the managers. The main reason for that, is the operators’ multidimensional service activity, patients’ distribution and service, operating rooms, laboratories, pharmacies, warehouses and hotel infrastructure. The chance for dynamic optimization of processes and higher quality services, while reducing costs, is huge.
Other sectors that deserve particular attention are the Financial and Banking. They are enterprises who have to manage and process, huge volumes of documents, data and information, and tend to wrong actions and corrections. It is the region that interacts with the market and can produce gains or losses, in a highly competitive and globalized environment
The roadmap for the adoption of Lean Management in an organization, starts at creating “Service Value Stream Mapping-SVSM”. It is the main tool for the visualization of processes in order to become the property of all shareholders and the purpose of their improvement.
Other tools for achieving the objectives are:
- The rebalancing of the workflow, avoiding bottlenecks.
- The technique of Just in Time (JIT-just in time), ie the necessary amount, at the right quality, at the exact time, in the right place and
- The sequence of 5S (Sort – Straighten – Shine – Standardize – Sustain).
Despite the different models and possible restrictions, one thing is certain: the Lean Philosophy, implemented in the services, delivers also positive results, but larger than those of Lean Manufacturing in the industrial sector.