CTcon: Lean administration

Lean Ad­mi­nis­tra­ti­on

Why this matters

Even administrative functions are feeling the pressure to boost efficiency through lean processes and transparent, goal-oriented structures. In addition to continuous optimisation (e.g. in the context of annual budgeting processes), many companies and public sector organisations are implementing efficiency projects for their admin departments. The aim is to significantly reduce the costs of IT, HR, finance and other service and administrative functions. In addition to efficiency gains, there are other important goals for sustainable “lean administration” projects:

  • Boost transparency regarding admin services as well as their quality and cost drivers
  • Improve the service concept towards increased focus (avoiding “waste”) and process-oriented thinking
  • Raise cost awareness within the administrative function as well as among internal customers


Support and admin services often change when the company's core business is restructured (“admin follows business”): structures and processes are brought in line with a new business model, while service levels and capacities are aligned with changing demand. The specific triggers for a “lean administration” initiative may vary, but the challenges are similar:

  • When competitors or external service providers introduce changes, this often triggers changes in the company as well. Ideas and best practices should therefore be reviewed regularly. At the same time the idiosyncrasies of one’s own company have to be taken into account.
  • This should also be kept in mind when defining a concrete goal for a “lean administration” campaign: ambitious, yet realistic targets are needed for optimisation to be successful. The level of ambition should be defined judiciously and with reference to external benchmarks. Defining a clear baseline is imperative – it makes progress measurable and allows binding targets to be agreed on.
    Potential savings are often found in cross-functional processes which cut across the line organisation, or at the interfaces of international collaboration. In many cases, it therefore makes sense to streamline administrative functions based on a cross-functional and international approach.
  • Many optimisation projects fail during implementation. Optimisation ideas and activities should be generated in a way that ensures they are as concrete and specific as possible. In some cases pilot projects can be used to generate implementation insights at an early stage.
  • Optimisation means changing existing structures, processes and thought patterns. Therefore change management plays a critical role alongside identifying, specifying and implementing activities.

Our offering

CTcon provides sustained support to companies in addressing these challenges, including:

  • Concept development, testing in pilot projects, and putting in place structures and procedures for daily operations.
  • Such activities are closely linked with change management solutions offered in support. 

Your contact person

Dr Jörg Ehlken
Partner | Düsseldorf | Germany
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