Lean Six Sigma for the Office (Hardback) book cover

Lean Six Sigma for the Office

By James William Martin

© 2008 – CRC Press

362 pages | 100 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2008-10-30
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About the Book

Historically, the integration of manufacturing methodologies into the office environment has proven to be problematic. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that process workflows tend to be globally dispersed and thus rely heavily on information technology. But in complex service systems that contain a mix of employees, consultants, and technology, standardized protocols have been shown to reduce cycle time and transactional cost as well as improve quality.

The successful application of Lean methodologies to improve process workflows is an efficient way to simplify operations and prevent mistakes. In Lean Six Sigma for the Office, Six Sigma guru James Martin presents proven modifications that can be deployed in offices, particularly those offices involved with global operations. Making use of Kaizen and Six Sigma concepts, along with Lean manufacturing principles, this book instructs managers on how they can improve operational efficiency and increase customer satisfaction.

The author brings experience gleaned from his application of these methodologies in a myriad of industries to create a practical and hands-on reference for the office environment. Using a detailed sequence of activities, including over 140 figures and tables as well as checklists and evaluation tools, he demonstrates how to realize the rapid improvement of office operations, and how to eliminate unnecessary tasks through value stream mapping (VSM).

The book also emphasizes the importance of strategic alignment of Kaizen events and the impact of organizational culture on process improvement activities. Latter chapters in the book discuss key elements of a change model in the context of transitional improvements as they relate to the process owner and local work team. By applying the proven principles found in this book, effective and sustainable organizational change can be accomplished, efficiency can be improved, and mistakes can be eliminated.

Table of Contents

I. Step 1: Align Improvement Opportunities

Strategy Alignment

What Is Kaizen?

Strategic Alignment

General Deployment Strategies

Reducing System Complexity

Outsourcing Processes

How to Deploy Lean in Three Steps

Important Elements of a Lean System

Project Identification

Lean Supply Chain

Conducting a Lean Assessment

Breaking Down High-Level Goals and Objectives

Project Identification—Process Analysis

Typical Project Examples

Key Metric Definitions

Project Charter Example

Prioritizing Projects

Lean Six Sigma Basics

Understand the Voice of the Customer (VOC)

Create Robust Product and Process Designs to Reduce Complexity

Deploy Lean Six Sigma Teams

Performance Measurements

Create Value Stream Maps (VSMs)

Eliminate Unnecessary Operations

Implement Just-in-Time (JIT) Systems

Supplier Networks and Support

Implement Visual Control and Pull Systems—Kanban

Continually Update Process Technologies

II. Step 2: Plan and Conduct the Kaizen Event

Kaizen Event Planning

Prepare for the Kaizen Event

Kaizen Event Communication Letter

Kaizen Event Kickoff Agenda

Conducting the Event

Evaluate the Kaizen Event

Data Collection and Analysis

Value Stream Mapping

Brown-Paper Exercise

Process Characterization

Simple Analysis of Process Data

Process Mapping—SIPOC

Cause-and-Effect (C&E) Diagrams

Five-Why Analysis


Pareto Chart

Box Plot

Scatter Plot

Time Series Graph

Control Charts

Example: Analyzing Job Shadowing Data

Example: Inventory Analysis and Reduction

Process Improvement

Common Process Changes

Control Tool Effectiveness and Sustainability

Root Cause Analysis and Improvement Strategies

Examples Using Common Process Workflows

Identifying and Prioritizing Improvement Opportunities

III. Step 3: Implementing Solutions

Building a Business Case for Change

Change Readiness

Project Transition

Building a Business Case for Change

Cost–Benefit Analysis

Key Stakeholder Analysis

Infrastructure Analysis

Scheduling Process Change Activities


Implementing Solutions

Key Questions

Control Plan Requirements

Important Control Tools

Statistical Process Controls

Measurement System Improvements

Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)

Other Control Tools

Quality Control Plan

Communicating the Proposed Changes to Management

Follow-Up Activities

Creating Metric Dashboards

Reinforcing New Behaviors and Organizational Change

Process Change across Global Supply Chains


Appendix 1: Crystal Ball® Software

Appendix 2: Minitab® Statistical Software and Quality Companion

by Minitab

Appendix 3: Figures and Tables



Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries