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Far from the Factory: Lean for the Information Age
     

Far from the Factory: Lean for the Information Age

by George Gonzalez-Rivas, Linus Larsson
 

If you currently employ knowledge workers who do most of their work on computers or with computers, access the Internet, utilize internal and external databases, use e-mail or other new messaging technology, then this book is for you. Quite simply, this handbook is for any organization with a lot of Web DNA that wishes to cut costs, improve performance, and stay

Overview

If you currently employ knowledge workers who do most of their work on computers or with computers, access the Internet, utilize internal and external databases, use e-mail or other new messaging technology, then this book is for you. Quite simply, this handbook is for any organization with a lot of Web DNA that wishes to cut costs, improve performance, and stay perpetually competitive. It is for change agents or managers within those organizations who work with information and want to leverage the latest crop of tool sets to deliver on the promise of Lean for the modern, information-rich office.

… packed with new ideas … breaks new ground in so many directions … .
— John Bicheno, Director, Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School

… excellent … on several levels … … teaches us how to visualize the depth of hidden wastes in our complex information flows and the large opportunity for improvement that this suggests.
— Keith Russell, PhD, Global Continuous Improvement Leader R&D, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

Very interesting view on operational excellence, helpful to readers without a background in this area of expertise.
— Bert Nordberg, President and CEO. Sony Ericsson

Congratulations to all the readers holding this book! ... These Lean ideas must be an integral part of the daily operations of your business. I am going to get each and every one of my management team a copy of this brilliant book at the start for our own Lean journey.
— Lennart Käll, CEO, Wasa Kredit

It’s one thing to develop a concept. It’s another to make it sing. This is the hymnal.
— Dr. Don V. Steward, CEO Problematics, Professor Emeritus, Sacramento State University, inventor of DSM

… a must read for CIOs everywhere."
— Julian Amey, Principal Fellow, Warwick University

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
This is one of the best books I’ve seen on Lean for knowledge and project workers. Most books on Lean implicitly focus on repetitive processes—doing the same thing over and over—whereas this book recognizes many of the challenges of understanding and improving a process that might only occur the same way once. This book will certainly help project workers eliminate the waste from their process improvement efforts.
—Tyson R. Browning, Associate Professor of Operations Management, Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University

... a must read. Filled with examples, diagrams, and other tips for success, the authors have captured the power of process and updated it for a global, diverse, and technology driven economy. It’s a great learning tool that takes you from the origins of Lean and brings it into modern day applications.
—Lisa W. Hershman, CEO, Hammer and Co., co-author of Faster, Cheaper, Better: The 9 Levers for Transforming How Work Gets Done.

Wow! What a book! Welcome to the new age of Lean! This is a long overdue book of the impact of web 2 on Lean thinking. As I said when I received this book for the publisher, 'This book is packed with new ideas, and breaks new ground in so many directions, for a traditional Lean thinker like me! I have been continually surprised, amazed, and delighted at your many new insights. It truly breaks new ground in areas as IT, knowledge management, project management, office lean, and more that have been very much under-thought-out in transferring thinking from the factory to the office.' ... Even if you are skepticalor a 'traditional' Lean thinker you will enjoy the many entertaining observations and sideline comments. My Lean 'Book of the Year'. Easily.
— John Bicheno, Director MSc in Lean Operations at Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School, in the Lean Management Journal, October 2010

...an excellent book that I experienced and enjoyed reading on several levels. It is very useful - filled with good practical advice and tools adapted and designed to suit Business improvement in information-oriented areas such as Research & Development. I look forward to experimenting with some of the novel approaches described. It is thought provoking - rich in new ideas and concepts bringing together classical Lean principles with the tools and capabilities of a modern Web 2.0 environment. It teaches us how to visualize the depth of hidden wastes in our complex information flows and the large opportunity for improvement that this suggests. Finally it was fun to read a book that so creatively integrates and weaves together such a diversity of ideas and approaches and instructive stories into a much needed fresh adaption of Lean for knowledge workers.... just like me and everyone I work with in Research & Development.
— Keith Russell PhD, Global Continuous Improvement Leader R&D, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

Very interesting view on operational excellence, helpful to readers without a background in the area of expertise.
— Bert Nordberg, President & CEO of Sony Ericsson

Do you have access to better web-based productivity tools at home than you do at the office? Is your corporate email inbox polluted with well-meaning but productivity-draining administrative emails? Is corporate IT a help or a hindrance to serving your customers? Do your internal projects spend more time competing for resources and attention than serving the organization? If any of these apply to you, then you must read this book! Far from the factory: Lean for the Information Age is a lively and fascinating read containing several lifetimes of wisdom, experience, and insights. This book is a must-read for today's knowledge worker, IT manager, project manager, Lean neophyte, or Lean guru. It is filled with thought-provoking and entertaining anecdotes, illustrations, and tips that highlight the problem of waste in information-intensive processes. The book is filled with many practical tools and ideas from the Lean Body of Knowledge and expertly outlines how they can be put to use in driving out waste and improving information flow. While earlier texts have done a good job of explaining how Lean techniques can be adapted from shop floor to office floor, this book is the first to truly make the leap to the knowledge-intensive, email-filled, and utterly chaotic Information Age.
— Tim McLaren, MBA, PhD Assoc. Professor of IT and Supply Chain Management, Ryerson University and Project Leader, Korva Consulting Ltd.

It’s one thing to develop a concept. It’s another to make it sing. This is the hymnal.
— Dr. Don V. Steward, CEO Problematics, Professor Emeritus Sacramento State University, inventor of DSM.

A very inspiring and thoughtful reading for me as a knowledge worker. It is addressing the lean principles for the Web 2.0 in a quest for higher value efficiency of our time, in a work context of overflow of email, RSS, Facebook etc. It is describing among others a Lean process in 5 steps for the Knowledge worker, as well as describing how to get to a Lean Culture and Lean time metrics.
— Leif Edvinsson The world's First Director of Intellectual Capital The World's First Professor of Intellectual Capital

Congratulations to all the readers holding this book! It is not only well written and entertaining, it confirms some of my own experiences as well as offering important new insights that give you, the reader, many new ideas to consider to drive success in your business. These Lean ideas must be an integral part of the daily operations of your business. I am going to get each and every one of my management team a copy of this brilliant book at the start for our own Lean journey.
— Lennart Käll, CEO Wasa Kredit. Former CEO of Ticket Travel Group, ICA Bank and SEB Finans.

I really enjoyed reading Far from the Factory: Lean for the Information Age. This is a book that I did not even know we needed, but we do. The book addresses the needs of modern companies in a way that no other Lean handbook does. It takes a fresh attempt to ineffective office practices that has evolved in most companies and it suggests methods, tools and inspirations to tackle the challenges. Thevbook gives a good mix of proven lean thinking and modern tools like collaboration software etc. to help restore your competitiveness.
— Gert Moelgaard, VP, Innovation & Business Development, NNE Pharmaplan

Applying Lean to the office has long been the missing link for consultants and practitioners alike. This book fills that void with well thought out, coherent and provocative prescriptions. In an environment full of armchair Lean experts who peddle dubious wisdom, this book is a bright light, showing how good thinking can advance best practices.
— Jorge A. Colazo Professor of Operations Management at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina Former Toyota Production and Maintenance Manager Founder and CEO - Lean Specialists - Consultants in Process Improvement

This is a beautiful book knitting together the concepts of Lean for the white collar knowledge worker to a practical guide of how to really get the benefits out of your Lean-project. The authors has proved a very deep understanding of how to make a difference In applying the Lean philosophy in the information age and also the importance to involve all parts of the organization on the change journey. I certainly recommend all my CIO colleagues to read the book.
— Ulf Tingström, former CIO for several financial institutions in Nordic, Skandia/Old Mutual and SBAB

We have used Value Stream Mapping as the primary tool for making process improvements in the office, but the business of applying lean thinking in this environment is relatively new. I find it encouraging to see that the authors have developed additional tools and methods and are leveraging new applications that can be used to identify and eliminate waste for the purpose of improving process performance.
— Lou Farinola - Manufacturing Engineering Director - Global Industrial Engineering and GM Global Manufacturing System

George Gonzalez-Rivas and Linus Larsson describe the challenge of working in the knowledge economy: knowledge workers wrestling with data and information overload, offices and projects working in traditional ways and failing to keep pace with the information revolution; IT departments lagging behind the shift to a Web 2.0 world. Far from the Factory: Lean for the Information Age provides timely insight into how Lean can be applied in the knowledge environment. Practical tools and approaches are given that take Lean out of its traditional manufacturing setting and apply it the Knowledge world. Excellent guidance for leaders and workers in office and project environments, and a 'must read' for CIOs everywhere.
— Julian Amey, Principal Fellow Warwick University, former Vice President Global Supply Chain at AstraZeneca

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781420094565
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
09/08/2010
Pages:
325
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
This is one of the best books I’ve seen on Lean for knowledge and project workers. Most books on Lean implicitly focus on repetitive processes—doing the same thing over and over—whereas this book recognizes many of the challenges of understanding and improving a process that might only occur the same way once. This book will certainly help project workers eliminate the waste from their process improvement efforts.
—Tyson R. Browning, Associate Professor of Operations Management, Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management, Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University

... a must read. Filled with examples, diagrams, and other tips for success, the authors have captured the power of process and updated it for a global, diverse, and technology driven economy. It’s a great learning tool that takes you from the origins of Lean and brings it into modern day applications.
—Lisa W. Hershman, CEO, Hammer and Co., co-author of Faster, Cheaper, Better: The 9 Levers for Transforming How Work Gets Done.

Wow! What a book! Welcome to the new age of Lean! This is a long overdue book of the impact of web 2 on Lean thinking. As I said when I received this book for the publisher, 'This book is packed with new ideas, and breaks new ground in so many directions, for a traditional Lean thinker like me! I have been continually surprised, amazed, and delighted at your many new insights. It truly breaks new ground in areas as IT, knowledge management, project management, office lean, and more that have been very much under-thought-out in transferring thinking from the factory to the office.' ... Even if you are skepticalor a 'traditional' Lean thinker you will enjoy the many entertaining observations and sideline comments. My Lean 'Book of the Year'. Easily.
— John Bicheno, Director MSc in Lean Operations at Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School, in the Lean Management Journal, October 2010

...an excellent book that I experienced and enjoyed reading on several levels. It is very useful - filled with good practical advice and tools adapted and designed to suit Business improvement in information-oriented areas such as Research & Development. I look forward to experimenting with some of the novel approaches described. It is thought provoking - rich in new ideas and concepts bringing together classical Lean principles with the tools and capabilities of a modern Web 2.0 environment. It teaches us how to visualize the depth of hidden wastes in our complex information flows and the large opportunity for improvement that this suggests. Finally it was fun to read a book that so creatively integrates and weaves together such a diversity of ideas and approaches and instructive stories into a much needed fresh adaption of Lean for knowledge workers.... just like me and everyone I work with in Research & Development.
— Keith Russell PhD, Global Continuous Improvement Leader R&D, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals

Very interesting view on operational excellence, helpful to readers without a background in the area of expertise.
— Bert Nordberg, President & CEO of Sony Ericsson

Do you have access to better web-based productivity tools at home than you do at the office? Is your corporate email inbox polluted with well-meaning but productivity-draining administrative emails? Is corporate IT a help or a hindrance to serving your customers? Do your internal projects spend more time competing for resources and attention than serving the organization? If any of these apply to you, then you must read this book! Far from the factory: Lean for the Information Age is a lively and fascinating read containing several lifetimes of wisdom, experience, and insights. This book is a must-read for today's knowledge worker, IT manager, project manager, Lean neophyte, or Lean guru. It is filled with thought-provoking and entertaining anecdotes, illustrations, and tips that highlight the problem of waste in information-intensive processes. The book is filled with many practical tools and ideas from the Lean Body of Knowledge and expertly outlines how they can be put to use in driving out waste and improving information flow. While earlier texts have done a good job of explaining how Lean techniques can be adapted from shop floor to office floor, this book is the first to truly make the leap to the knowledge-intensive, email-filled, and utterly chaotic Information Age.
— Tim McLaren, MBA, PhD Assoc. Professor of IT and Supply Chain Management, Ryerson University and Project Leader, Korva Consulting Ltd.

It’s one thing to develop a concept. It’s another to make it sing. This is the hymnal.
— Dr. Don V. Steward, CEO Problematics, Professor Emeritus Sacramento State University, inventor of DSM.

A very inspiring and thoughtful reading for me as a knowledge worker. It is addressing the lean principles for the Web 2.0 in a quest for higher value efficiency of our time, in a work context of overflow of email, RSS, Facebook etc. It is describing among others a Lean process in 5 steps for the Knowledge worker, as well as describing how to get to a Lean Culture and Lean time metrics.
— Leif Edvinsson The world's First Director of Intellectual Capital The Worl&dacute;s First Professor of Intellectual Capital

Congratulations to all the readers holding this book! It is not only well written and entertaining, it confirms some of my own experiences as well as offering important new insights that give you, the reader, many new ideas to consider to drive success in your business. These Lean ideas must be an integral part of the daily operations of your business. I am going to get each and every one of my management team a copy of this brilliant book at the start for our own Lean journey.
— Lennart Käll, CEO Wasa Kredit. Former CEO of Ticket Travel Group, ICA Bank and SEB Finans.

I really enjoyed reading Far from the Factory: Lean for the Information Age. This is a book that I did not even know we needed, but we do. The book addresses the needs of modern companies in a way that no other Lean handbook does. It takes a fresh attempt to ineffective office practices that has evolved in most companies and it suggests methods, tools and inspirations to tackle the challenges. Thevbook gives a good mix of proven lean thinking and modern tools like collaboration software etc. to help restore your competitiveness.
— Gert Moelgaard, VP, Innovation & Business Development, NNE Pharmaplan

Applying Lean to the office has long been the missing link for consultants and practitioners alike. This book fills that void with well thought out, coherent and provocative prescriptions. In an environment full of armchair Lean experts who peddle dubious wisdom, this book is a bright light, showing how good thinking can advance best practices.
— Jorge A. Colazo Professor of Operations Management at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Argentina Former Toyota Production and Maintenance Manager Founder and CEO - Lean Specialists - Consultants in Process Improvement

This is a beautiful book knitting together the concepts of Lean for the white collar knowledge worker to a practical guide of how to really get the benefits out of your Lean-project. The authors has proved a very deep understanding of how to make a difference In applying the Lean philosophy in the information age and also the importance to involve all parts of the organization on the change journey. I certainly recommend all my CIO colleagues to read the book.
— Ulf Tingström, former CIO for several financial institutions in Nordic, Skandia/Old Mutual and SBAB

We have used Value Stream Mapping as the primary tool for making process improvements in the office, but the business of applying lean thinking in this environment is relatively new. I find it encouraging to see that the authors have developed additional tools and methods and are leveraging new applications that can be used to identify and eliminate waste for the purpose of improving process performance.
— Lou Farinola - Manufacturing Engineering Director - Global Industrial Engineering and GM Global Manufacturing System

George Gonzalez-Rivas and Linus Larsson describe the challenge of working in the knowledge economy: knowledge workers wrestling with data and information overload, offices and projects working in traditional ways and failing to keep pace with the information revolution; IT departments lagging behind the shift to a Web 2.0 world. Far from the Factory: Lean for the Information Age provides timely insight into how Lean can be applied in the knowledge environment. Practical tools and approaches are given that take Lean out of its traditional manufacturing setting and apply it the Knowledge world. Excellent guidance for leaders and workers in office and project environments, and a 'must read' for CIOs everywhere.
— Julian Amey, Principal Fellow Warwick University, former Vice President Global Supply Chain at AstraZeneca

Meet the Author

George Gonzalez-Rivas has been a process improvement consultant for most of his life and has worked with several consulting companies, most recently as a partner for PA Consulting Group. He has advised telecom, energy, and product development organizations, and is the inventor of the Infel Matrix approach to information modeling. He is continuously improving his Lean skills. He is currently the national director of AnyLogic America. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children.

Linus Larsson, until recently a partner at PA Consulting, is now pursuing new business ventures with The Quest Group while he is at work on yet another new book. As an advisor on strategy and performance improvement to large international corporations for more than 20 years, Linus has worked with high-performance companies in a range of industries, including manufacturing, financial services, health care, and business services. He has held senior management positions with several global business services corporations, where he has helped pioneer a number of Lean initiatives. His diverse experience and innovative approach, along with his record of success, make him a leading thinker, as well as a much sought after writer, speaker, and advisor on effective ways to apply Lean philosophy in a non-factory environment. Linus is based in Stockholm where he lives with his wife and three children."

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