Article: Porsche Consulting Debuts the “Lean Office”

In an interesting article from The Financial, they talk about Porsche Consulting (yes, that Porsche), who have developed an innovative strategy for, of all things, dealing with office management and workflow. Using design tricks they learned from the automotive assembly line, they’ve come up with some interesting solutions:

In order to make their office “lean” the consultants turned to the same methods that they also use for external customers in order to optimize their own workflows. The Porsche Consulting employees first analyzed the amount of time they spend walking around the office, the capacity of meeting rooms and the use of individual workstations. Then the optimization process began.

So, several small instead of a few large meeting rooms were set up. This arrangement allows work groups to implement their respective projects faster because the waiting times for available meeting rooms have been reduced and it is easier to call meetings on short notice. Through modular shelving systems and lockers with an integrated post box, work-related walking distances have been shortened and space saved. Just as on the Porsche production line the availability of office materials is controlled by a “just-in-time” system. This ensures that the most important office tools are available at all times at each workstation.

It’s one of those articles that makes you want to slap your forehead and say “duh.” Why has it taken so long for us to realize this? More meeting rooms means less wait time. Modular, mix-and-match furniture means the office can be quickly reconfigured to optimize workspace and flow. Simple concepts, elegantly implemented. I guess there’s a reason this is coming from Porsche.

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