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Applying the principles of lean thinking to compliance

Kudzai Chaka (kudzaic@kccompliance.co.za) is the founder and CEO of KC Compliance in Johannesburg, South Africa.

How often do we as compliance professionals complain about not having enough time or capacity to do all the work that falls within our responsibilities? The standard solution to this problem is to try and get more headcount into the team, and in some cases, that is indeed appropriate. However, I would like to propose an alternative approach that does not require submitting a business case through several layers of approval followed by a long recruitment process. The potential solution I would like us to explore centers around the benefits of applying lean thinking principles to the work of compliance. When most people hear lean thinking, they think about it in the context of manufacturing, operational efficiency, and cost cutting. Manufacturing may be the origin of this school of thought, but its application is not limited to that arena. Lean thinking poses the question, “What do we do, and how can we do it better?” At its core, the objective is to encourage continuous improvement in processes and the consistent use of best practices to create efficiency, and by the end of this article, my goal is to illustrate how applying lean thinking could positively affect our way of working and the value we deliver.

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