Knowledge Work Standardization Thought Leadership

All you need to know about standardization, automation, and digitization!

At The Lab, we wrote the book, quite literally, on the standardization of white-collar, or knowledge work. We’ve been doing it for companies from the Fortune 500 on down, for more than 25 years. And we use our patented Nano-Scale Standardization™ methodology to bring you breakthrough transformational power in the form of robotic process automation, automated process mining, advanced analytics, and much more. Take advantage of the thought-leading articles, case studies, and videos below. Then contact us to book your no-obligation 30-minute screen-sharing demo.

“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” – James Joyce Scientists, artists, mathematicians and stock traders have long cherished all types of errors as tools for discovery. However, they are particularly fascinated by errors of contradiction – any situation in which inconsistent elements are present. The reason: Contradictions can provide clues that a major opportunity might...

Today, most workers aren’t sweating in the sun, laying bricks. They’re toiling away in the office. White-collar, or knowledge, workers make up the majority of the workforce. And like the bricklayers, they believe they’re as productive as possible.Yet the productivity of these employees is being sapped by virtuous waste. They’re spending 35 percent of their day doing things like correcting errors. Duplicating work. Or over-servicing clients.Not only do they not realize they’re wasting effort, but they believe their work is unavoidable, even valuable. Find out how The Lab delivered transformational benefits in just months, using its patented Knowledge Work Standardization™ approach.

Our last article detailed the numerous risks inherent in business operations lacking sufficient standardization. It told the story of a globally-known brokerage whose front- and back-office operations were hobbled by low quality,...

It might seem counterintuitive that the U.S. government—and the I.R.S., no less—could provide a valuable lesson in reducing cost. But when you take a new perspective on the word “tax,” the possibilities suddenly become...

A lot has changed since 1920. Knowledge-work jobs have grown six times faster than total employment. Today, daily knowledge-work activities account for 85 percent of an average business’ market value. That’s more than four times the value of its tangible assets. Yesterday’s perception must catch up to today’s reality. Knowledge workers are the best-educated and highest-paid human resources. They’re also the least standardized. But they make up half of the workforce. There’s never been a better time to institute factory-inspired structures for their operations.

This is the story of Michel, the European-based CFO of a global tire manufacturer. He’s also a staunch advocate of cost-cutting strategies that rely on standardizing knowledge work. But that’s getting ahead of the plot.When our tale began, Michel had flown across the pond to visit Pete, his head of manufacturing for The Americas operations. Over lunch, the topic of audits arose. Audits were a sore spot for Pete. He immediately griped about the burden these imposed on his management team. Safety audits, financial audits, physical inventory audits and product design audits all failed to produce actionable information.

Home-theater enthusiasts quickly learn a painful lesson. Their precious, expensive gear is only as good as its weakest link. Using “junky speaker wire” undermines the performance of their investment in premium speakers and amplifiers. That’s why sophisticated audiophiles invest as much on speaker cables as many people spend on their entire system. Today’s executives should learn from these audiophiles. Currently they under-invest in critical connections. Businesses buy expensive technology for core business operations and high-stakes risk-management requirements. But they skimp on makeshift, inefficient processes to connect these costly “components” to employees, data, customers and regulators. The result is the operations equivalent of “degraded audio”: degraded business value.

This global top-ten medical-device subsidiary maintains 20 facilities for operations and manufacturing. It sells & services products in over 100 countries. Product return operations included 450 employees in three global locations. The principal objective was to develop a broad, inarguable consensus on the existing returns-processing operations including returns routing decisions.

The company is a U.S.-based family-owned maker of branded, baked goods, distributed across the North American market through both traditional CPG channels and, more recently, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel of growing importance. The objectives were clear: Increase order management productivity, reduce waste (including rework, order queueing, and customer wait time), cut costs, and introduce newfound flexibility to scale up or down as needed and remain continuously competitive in a fastmoving, dynamic market space.

The company provides commercial building and security products as well as maintenance and monitoring services worldwide. More than 4,000 employees serve business and institutional customers in North America alone. The project scope included all non-manufacturing organizations in the supply chain: marketing, sales, distribution, customer service, and branch operations.

A U.S. Top 15 P&C insurer recently sought to accelerate end-to-end (E2E) standardization from first notice of loss (FNOL) through subrogation. In just eight weeks, they were able to map all the processes and identify opportunities for reducing their expense and loss ratios.

Today, the intangible assets of knowledge workers’ work methods represent the majority of business value. (That’s the opposite of the way things used to be, when tangible assets such as factories and equipment were king.) Sadly, there is a ton of waste when it comes to addressing (or more accurately, overlooking) how knowledge workers perform their job activities. According to real-world data assembled by The Lab Consulting, up to 40 percent of knowledge work activity could be avoided or eliminated. That’s a cost reduction opportunity too big to ignore. Consider that again: Up to 40 percent of knowledge work activity can be eliminated.

Imagine all new hires onboarded, automatically, with a single click! If you’re an information-technology (IT) or information-security (IS) person, there’s one routine chore that we guarantee you dread: The onboarding of...

We document every activity. We find every variance. If it’s wasteful, it goes away. If it’s valuable and repetitive, it gets earmarked for automation.   UNLOCK THE POWER OF ROBOTICS & AI HARNESS ADVANCED ANALYTICS TURBOCHARGE...