Most companies that implement lean practices do so in the production areas of their organizations only. While lean success in manufacturing can create productivity increases of 35 percent to 40 percent over the course of several years, authors Beau Keyte and Drew Locher argue that manufacturing improvement is just the tip of the iceberg. In their workbook, The Complete Lean Enterprise, they estimate that 90 percent of waste-eliminating opportunities are found outside the shop floor, and the lean goal should really be a 400 percent improvement in productivity over 10 years.
One of the major obstacles in applying lean principles to nonproduction areas has been an inability to apply systems thinking in identifying value, waste, and flow in support areas. The workbook expands the use of value stream mapping to administrative and office operations to leverage lean throughout the organization. It includes case studies as well as examples of companies applying its concepts.