Lean Office and Service Simplified: The Definitive How-To Guide, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Lean Office and Service Simplified

The Definitive How-To Guide, 1st Edition

By Drew Locher

Productivity Press

194 pages | 54 B/W Illus.

Shingo Award Winner
Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781439820315
pub: 2011-02-09
SAVE ~$9.99
Hardback: 9781138434837
pub: 2017-07-27
SAVE ~$41.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429245978
pub: 2017-07-27
from $117.00

FREE Standard Shipping!


Winner of a 2012 Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award

Demystifying the application of Lean methods, Lean Office and Service Simplified: The Definitive How-To Guide goes beyond the basic tools to detail the key concepts of Lean as they apply to office and service environments. It begins by discussing value stream management, followed by chapters on standard work, flow, level pull, and visual management.

Winner of a 2012 Shingo Prize, this book covers essential Lean tools, including 5S and mistake proofing. It breaks down Lean concepts into their elementary components, describes them in a nonmanufacturing context, and supplies readers with specific how-to methodologies. Providing detailed examples throughout, the text illustrates the functions found in most service organizations, as well as the administrative areas of manufacturing companies.

Drawing on more than two decades of practical experience, the author provides implementation strategies on a function-by-function and department-by-department basis. He examines the most common obstacles that readers are likely to encounter and supplies strategies to address those obstacles. The text includes a toolbox of helpful forms, charts, checklists, templates, and worksheets to help kick-start your Lean implementation efforts.

Watch Shingo Prize-winning author Drew Locher discuss how to implement Lean concepts into your office and service settings.


… a simple guide to help leaders drive the Lean transformation of themselves, their people, and processes.

—Glenn Marshall, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding

Drew is still one of the few practitioners who really understand the concept of the Lean Enterprise as opposed to Lean Manufacturing.

—Bill Beer, Wenger Corporation

… a plain language guide to transforming Office and Service industries into effective, efficient organizations. I recommend it strongly.

—Mike Robinson, Manager, Corning Cable Systems

… clear and straightforward methods for applying Lean thinking to administrative and support processes that apply across almost every industry … I highly recommend this book.

—Brian Maskell, BMA Inc.

… Locher’s book delivers! Every essential tool in the Lean toolkit is explored with enough simplicity for a beginner to understand and enough depth for an experienced Lean Thinker to draw from.

—Allan R. Coletta, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Inc.

… a valuable and enthusiastically recommended instructional reference for anyone faced with the responsibility of managing a business to its effective maximum performance in both its physical plant and its human resources. … begins by explaining the key concepts of Value Stream, Standard Work, Flow, Level Pull, and Visual Management. Every aspect of a functioning office is covered in accessible detail including sales, marketing, purchasing, accounting, customer service, mentoring, performance measurement, and more. … highly recommended for personal, professional, academic, and community library Business Management reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

—James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review, in Library Bookwatch, March 2011

Table of Contents

Organizing by Value Stream

Cross-Functional Teams Based on Value Stream

Defining Roles by Value Stream within a Department

Organizing Activities for Individuals by Value Stream

Creating Standard Work for Office and Service

Standard Work—What It Is and Its Purpose

Elements of Standard Work

The "What"

Key Points—The "How" and "Why"

Time and Timing

Visually Displaying Standard Work


Steps to Creating Standard Work

Creating Flow in Office and Services

Approaches to Flow in Office and Services

Combining Activities

Continuous Flow Processing with Multiple Roles

Concurrent Processing

Designing Flow Systems for Office and Services

Identify Activities

Determine the Demand Rate

Determine Resource Requirements

Identify Roles and Responsibilities, including Standard Work

Determine Training and Cross-Training Needs

Develop Visual Management Techniques

Typical Results

Creating Level Pull in the Office

Forms of Pull Systems

Visibility of Queues

Establishing Limits on Queues

Establishing Decision Rules for the Queue

Using Visual Signals That Are Worker Managed

Leveling the System

Steps to Implement Pull Systems

Step 1: Identify the Locations Where Queues Are Expected to Form

Step 2: Identify Means to Provide Visibility

Step 3: Establish Limits for the Queue

Step 4: Define Rules for the Queue

Step 5: Train People in the Pull System

Step 6: Monitor the System for Effectiveness

Benefits of Office and Service Pull Systems

Establishing Visual Management in Office and Services


Approaches to Visual Management

Elements of Visual Management

What Is the Purpose or Function of the Area?

What Activities Are Performed in the Area?

How Do People Know What To Do?

How Do They Know How To Do It?

How Do They Know How They Are Doing?

What Is Done If Performance Expectations Are Not Being Met?

Including Continuous Improvement in Visual Management

Lean Tools for Office and Services

Workplace Organization or 5S

Mistake Proofing

Terms and Definitions

Mistake Proofing Devices

Mistake Proofing Devices and Examples

Guide/Reference/Interference Device

Template/Checklist Devices

Light Contact Electrical Devices

Counter Devices

Odd-Part-Out Devices

Sequence Restriction Devices

Standardize and Solve Devices

Critical Condition Indicator Devices

Delivery Detection Devices


Sensor Devices

Mistake Proof Your Mistake Proofing Device

Setup Reduction or Quick Changeover

Functional Applications of Lean

Sales and Marketing

Stability Issues with Sales and Marketing

Standardizing Sales and Marketing Processes

Making the Sales and Marketing Function Visible

Improving the Sales and Marketing Function


Stability Issues Relating to the Purchasing Function

Standardizing Purchasing Processes

Making the Purchasing Function Visual

Improving the Purchasing Function


Stability Issues in the Accounting Function

Standardizing Accounting Processes

Making the Accounting Function Visual

Improving the Accounting Function

Customer Service

Stability Issues with Customer Service

Standardizing Customer Service Processes

Making Customer Service Visual

Improving the Customer Service Function

Human Resources

Stability Issues Relating to Human Resources

Standardizing HR Processes

Making the HR Function Visible

Improving the HR Function

Leading the Lean Organization

Driving Continuous Improvement (PDCA)


Going to the Gemba

Performance Measurement



The Quality Toolbox



Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Engineering