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.

Discover the three underlying assumptions that stand in the way of Knowledge Work Standardization® for your organization—and how The Lab is able to overcome each one—in this informative article, complete with fascinating five-minute video.

“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...

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.

The company, a top-3 global tire manufacturer, was battling low-cost competitors who were overtaking the low-price end of the North American tire after-market. At the high-price end, effective marketing operations, high-quality product, and strong brand recognition kept these new entrants at bay. Even so, high-end customers pushed for lower pricing. Industry margins were so thin that a one-percent cost reduction could deliver a meaningful competitive gain in market share.

For decades, this company called itself an “information provider,” serving the global pharmaceuticals industry. After several major acquisitions broadened its market footprint across the entire healthcare sector, steady growth far exceeded original expectations. It rebranded itself as a “research and advisory firm,” delivering standard “products” as well as customized “management consulting” services. Management and employees considered the business a success. But in recent years, margin growth lagged revenue gains, and external shareholders grew restless. Finally, under pressure from activist investors, the COO launched a costly, core-technology-transformation initiative that promised lower costs, productivity gains, improvements in customer self-service, and continuous digital-automation capabilities. But 18 months after completion, nothing much had changed, and margin growth was still lackluster.

The Lab’s COO sponsor, at a global Top 10 retailer, wanted to rein in costs—and variance—across the company’s dispersed shared services, spanning everything from supplier onboarding to AP and inventory management. Read the real-life benefits here.

Changes in the healthcare industry demanded improved capabilities from pharmaceuticals companies. Customers wanted flexible ordering options, shorter cycle times, new packaging, increased service support—and lower prices. The company’s new ERP upgrades promised to enable this new flexibility, increase productivity, and deliver sustainable cost reduction. But it also delivered mediocre gains. Rapid turnover was only exacerbating operational issues.