Implementing Automation and Lean into Your Business—No Matter the Size

Learn more about why automation and lean processes should be something to consider for your business. 

Learn more about why automation and lean processes should be something to consider for your business. 

By First Federal Lakewood

Time is money, especially when it comes to business. If you could maximize employee time, reduce business costs and save your customers time, would you jump at the opportunity?

Most likely, the answer is going to be yes. 

If that’s the case, then automation and lean processes should be something to consider for your business. But what exactly is automation and lean?

“Automation reduces human error and lean eliminates waste. They both eliminate hours of labor and go hand in hand,” said Kathy Dockery, SVP, Chief Information Officer at First Mutual Holding Co., First Federal Lakewood’s holding company. “It’s not if you should lean the process, it’s a matter of when.”

At First Federal Lakewood and all our affiliate banks, implementing automation and lean are a top priority across many departments. Introducing efficient IT solutions, consolidating employee processes and cutting out excess steps are just a few ways that the banks are working towards productivity within the business.

From startups to large corporations, Dockery believes every size business can benefit from the efficiencies gained from these initiatives—including employees and customers.

However, Dockery warns that it’s not a one and done initiative. An internal cultural mindset needs to happen in order for automation and lean to be successful. 

“Employees have to be behind both ideas, and it has to be cultivated within the organization first,” she said. “Awareness must be raised so the company can let go of repetitive processes and improve efficiency.”

Where to begin?

There are a few things to consider if you plan on implementing automation and lean into your business.

You want to start by creating a committee with the leaders from each Line of Business. This internal group must exist so they can create rules, provide guidance, and ensure everything is being maintained as the environment changes.

“You must have strong leaders backing and supporting this initiative,” Dockery said. “Once that’s in place, there needs to be training, communication via company-wide townhall meetings and meetings with employees to walk them through the ideas. This way, everyone understands the culture you’re trying to cultivate.”

Once a committee is in place and has created ideas for their department, a decision can be made on where automation and lean should occur within the organization.

“Look at the company as a whole,” Dockery said. “The departments with the most processes and most employees will be the first to benefit from automation and lean. Look at the financials in those areas and start digging into it from there.”

Beyond the initial step of creating a team, Dockery recommends tracking KPI’s around each process that you’re going to automate and lean.

“I recommend having quick wins,” she said. “Take those wins and use them as examples when you’re in the beginning stages of implementing the processes. This may help you boost the overall confidence amongst the groups.”  

Emerging trend in the world of automation and lean 

As for the future, Dockery sees one emerging trend on the horizon for automation and lean. 

In the automation sphere, hyperautomation is the latest buzzword. Hyperautomation is an approach that an organization uses to rapidly identify, vet and automate processes and covers everything from IT to business processes. 

“Hyperautomation utilizes multiple technologies and platforms ranging from RPA, AI to machine learning,” Dockery said. “However, it isn’t about the technologies, it is about a new approach to business and IT processes.”

No matter how big or small your business is, everyone can benefit from implementing automation and lean. While it may seem overwhelming to begin, the end result can leave you with large rewards.


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