Office Lean: Understanding and Implementing Flow in a Professional and Administrative Environment, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Office Lean

Understanding and Implementing Flow in a Professional and Administrative Environment, 1st Edition

By Ken Eakin

Productivity Press

296 pages | 40 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367196646
pub: 2019-10-25
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Lean has proven itself as an exceptional business system in manufacturing and a variety of other sectors, such as supply chain, retail, and healthcare. Where Lean has not yet made much of an impact is in professional "white-collar" industries such as banking and insurance, technology services, or government. Why? It is not, as many have assumed, a matter of Lean being irrelevant to "knowledge work," but rather a problem of it being poorly understood and therefore poorly applied in professional office settings.

This book closes the gap between Lean’s promise, on the one hand, of innovation, business growth, and sustainable competitive advantage; and, on the other, the too frequent reality of Lean’s application ending in disappointing results. While nearly every major professional business -- including the digital giants like Apple, Google and Amazon -- has attempted to apply Lean concepts in some way (sometimes under the name Agile), its practice in white-collar industries typically ends up being limited to a small bunch of highly-specialized experts making small, fairly inconsequential improvements in isolated areas, leaving leaders wondering how to make Lean’s transformative potential work on a broader basis.

The purpose of the book is to help Lean practitioners (both leaders/managers and coaches/consultants) who work in professional office environments gain purchase on the amazing, transformative results Lean can bring to all companies. Overturning the common perception that Lean is about imposing overly rigid rules, or eliminating waste, the book presents Lean as a dynamic, flexible, people-centric philosophy that delivers outstanding financial results by improving both employee engagement and customer experience.

The book explains, in simple terms, what Lean is -- and what Lean isn’t -- enabling office professionals to understand how it can be successfully applied to their complex office-based work environments. It combines practical explanations of the most important core concepts of the Lean philosophy with relevant, practical, real-world examples from the fields of accounting, finance, insurance, IT, HR and government.

Table of Contents

Preface: caring for people. About the author. INTRODUCTION: we don’t make widgets. PART I: grasping the situation. PART II: designing for flow. PART III: THINKING beyond flow. conclusion: work is a human system. appendix: VALUE STREAM, SYSTEM, AND PROCESS: understanding three fundamental terms.

About the Author

Ken Eakin is a Senior Advisor, Operational Excellence at Export Development Canada (EDC), a government-owned financial services company that runs on commercial principles. Based in Ottawa, Ken has been a Lean coach to EDC leaders at all levels, including senior executives, in the areas of Financing, Insurance, Corporate Finance, IT and Corporate Services of EDC. Prior to working at EDC, he worked as a Process Improvement Manager in the container shipping industry in Toronto, where he earned his certification as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He holds an MA in Cinema Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Production & Operations Management