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Practicing Lean Fundamentals in an Office Environment (2 Day Class)

This two-day workshop has been designed for individuals and teams who work in office and service environments that want to gain a better understanding of the philosophy, thinking and acting within a Lean Enterprise and how it might benefit their customers, organizations, and staffs.  It will demonstrate the overall approach for implementing a lean transformation including both work and management processes in your organization.

The workshop is a mixture of didactic teaching, discussions, reflection, and simulation. Attendees will be able to understand and practice the fundamentals of building a culture of continuous improvement aligning Organization Purpose, Work and Management Processes, and People Engagement through a deliberate focus on the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) method.  You will:

  • Look into the interactions of processes for deploying an organizational strategy aimed at delivering maximum value to the customer;
  • Discuss the importance of making work and performance visible; and,
  • Learn about the critical importance of developing employee problem solving capabilities at all levels.

The office simulation will help you practice and understand the cycle of PDCA within the framework of using tools to improve performance and the social aspects of change inherent in an office and service environment.

Small group discussions and reflections will provide an opportunity to challenge the actions and thinking of your organization and how lean transformation can make a real difference in your performance and culture.

Course Outline:

This course has three main components as you explore the challenges and benefits of creating a Lean Enterprise: lean thinking, practicing PDCA (plan-do-check-act) with lean tools, and management system concepts and challenges.

Lean Thinking
In this segment, you will be challenged to reflect on your current state and how to think differently about addressing performance problems and improving your operations. Topics include:

  • Key components of lean
  • Problem solving in today’s environment
  • Improving work and the management of the work
  • Technical and social components of lean thinking
  • Waste in the work processes and its impact on people capacity

Practicing Lean Problem-Solving Tools
In order to get real sustainable change in cost, service, quality, and morale new tools are required to solve some of the gaps organizations now face in order to address systemic issues in the processes supporting the business. Attendees will learn about and practice experimenting with tools that work well in an office environment, including:

  • Value stream mapping and system perspectives
  • Standard work, visual instructions, built-in quality, batch reduction, and workplace organization and process-level perspectives

Alongside these tools will be discussions and reflection concerning the social aspects of a transformation.

Lean Leadership Behaviors
Lean is, at heart, a people-based system, and the success of any lean transformation depends on the engagement of every employee in the process for continuous improvement to solve problems in their specific work.  This section will provide a framework for aligning leadership thinking, acting, and coaching for improvement within performance improvement efforts.  You will be challenged to be deliberate in designing a different management style and system in your organization to sustain and grow your improvements.  Topics will include:

  • Visual management & management timeframes
  • PDCA of the management system

Finally, you will spend time reflecting on your new perspective and discussing different paths of transformation that might resonate within your organization.


As a result of this two-day immersion you will:

  • Think differently about the process and methods to move your organization to a new place
  • Understand the need to engage people differently to solve their own problems
  • Understand the important linkage of technical and social aspects of change to engage employees and improve performance
  • Experience the use of tools that can make rapid improvements in some of the problems you now face in the work processes
  • Participate in complete PDCA cycles and understand the impact of experimentation as a core principal of continuous improvement
  • Understand key aspects of a new management system to sustain your gains performance improvement and staff satisfaction

Who Should Attend:

  • Individuals or teams with little to moderate experience
  • People that want to get exposure to lean thinking and practice through hands-on simulation
  • Anyone interested in understanding the positive impact lean thinking and practice can have in an office or service environment
  • Managers who want an understanding of lean and the impact their role has on the  organization and its culture

About this class

We took the opportunity for reflection on the course design and wanted to incorporate what we've learned from offering this course over several years. As a result, we've changed the title of this course which was previously Optimizing Flow in Office and Service Processes and changed it to a 2-day course. We've also added more time for dialog about the concepts, the struggles you face, and the visual management system supporting and facilitating the important changes you need to make. 

If you have previously taken Optimizing Flow in Office and Service Processes, it is recommended that you do not take this course.

James (Beau) Keyte James (Beau) Keyte
The Keyte Group
Beau is President of The Keyte Group. In this role, Beau teaches, coaches, and facilitates on two important transformation fronts: changing the work processes and changing the roles and responsibilities of leadership to support new work processes. This work keeps him happy as he guides systemic learning and change. Teams learn how to understand, prioritize, and solve performance problems while management learns how to coach the staff in a way to develop them into better thinkers and employees. His operational excellence focus began in 1986 and his work has expanded to include support in healthcare, financial services, and manufacturing. Beau also has been active in designing ways to help organizations learn in highly leveraged collaborative models, including working with 62 emergency departments across Michigan to simultaneously improve patient outcomes. He has two Shingo Prize-winning publications: The Complete Lean Enterprise and Perfecting Patient Journeys. In addition to being on LEI’s faculty, he is a contributing author to Huffington Post and an adjunct faculty member of Ohio State University’s Masters of Business in Operational Excellence program.
Drew Locher Drew Locher

Drew began developing and implementing continuous improvement initiatives while working for General Electric in the 1980s. Since leaving GE in 1990, he has helped a variety of industrial and service companies with organizational development and lean implementations. Drew helped the National Institute of Standards and Technologies’ Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) develop a Lean University, providing training to roughly 1,000 MEP field engineers helping small to medium-sized manufacturers throughout the country. He has helped companies in a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, transportation, distribution, education, financial services, and manufacturing implement lean and organizational redesign.

He is co-author with Beau Keyte of The Complete Lean Enterprise: Value-Stream Mapping for Administrative and Office Processes, which received a Shingo Research Award in 2005. Drew is also the author of Value Stream Mapping for Lean Development: a How-to Guide to Streamlining Time to Market. His book Lean Office and Service Simplified: The Definitive How-To Guide was a 2010 Shingo Research Prize recipient. His latest book is The Complete Lean Enterprise: Value Stream Mapping for Office and Services.

He currently aids companies implementing lean through Change Management Associates.

Workshop Suggestion:
To maximize your learning experience we recommend that prior to attending this program you take following workshop or have a good understanding of the concepts presented within it.
Locations and Dates for Practicing Lean Fundamentals in an Office Environment
May 2-3
Lean Enterprise Institute
Cambridge, MA
Instructor: Drew Locher
Hotel Discount Available
Important Information About This Event & Location

We encourage you to make hotel accommodations early.

Price: $1,600.00 ($1,400.00 if the participant is taking 2 or more workshops at one location)
Price includes all participant materials, breakfast, lunch and snacks each day

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Cancelation Policy
Our workshops are designed to cater to a limited number of participants.  If you must cancel a workshop registration, you will be given a full refund up to four weeks before the workshop. A cancelation occuring within four weeks of the workshop will be subjected to a $350 cancelation fee.  Substitutions may be made at any time prior to the start of the workshop. To cancel a workshop registration, please call LEI at (617) 871-2900.