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Improving Performance in Service Organizations

How to Implement a Lean Transformation

Joyce Ann Miller, Tatiana Bogatova, and Bruce Carnohan

Publication Date - 01 July 2011

ISBN: 9780190616281

256 pages
8.6 x 11.1 inches


Improving Performance in Service Organizations guides professionals through the application of lean concepts and methods in the service sector. Agencies can use this innovative approach to analyze operations and determine ways to eliminate activities that are wasteful and add no value to the services delivered. Service organizations that undergo a lean transformation optimize the use of time and money associated with operations and ensure that scarce resources are allocated to the activities that produce the greatest value for clients served. Using a lean lens within the context of the organization's goals and mission taps into the latent energy and innovative ideas of personnel and releases resources trapped in a vicious cycle of wasted work efforts. By applying the lean concepts, methods, and tools introduced in this book and creating a culture of continuous improvement, service organizations can increase effectiveness and improve accountability for the funding they receive.

This book is also well suited for academic courses in quality improvement/business operations management in business and/or social service programs.


  • "From Knowledge to Practice" - exercises to further understanding and enhance the application of lean concepts and methods
  • Compares and contrasts lean philosophy with other quality-improvement methodologies
  • Includes a glossary of terms and a resource list

About the Author(s)

Joyce Ann Miller (Ph.D, Kent State University and University of Akron) is a sociologist specializing in evaluation research and social policy. She established KeyStone Research Corporation (KSRC) in 1980 and has more than thirty years of experience in providing research and organizational development services to organizations in the service sector. She also served as a professor of sociology at Villa Maria College and Gannon University, where she held the position of associate provost for two years and developed a system of learning outcomes assessment for the university.

Tatiana Bogatova (MBA, Gannon University) has more than ten years' experience in policy/program research, data analysis, and evaluation studies. She has participated in development and implementation in a number of research and evaluation projects including Evaluation of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project Pennsylvania and Assessment of the Impact of Education on Caregiver Knowledge and Performance for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Her educational background is in quantitative analysis and organizational learning and leadership.

Bruce Carnohan is a specialist in the marketing, training, and implementation of lean and Six Sigma tools with an advanced diploma in industrial management from Bristol Polytechnic, UK. His educational background is in plastics and rubber technology. He has worked as a consultant in operational and marketing aspects for both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

Table of Contents

    List of Illustrations
    Part I Overview. Introduction to Performance Improvement in Service Organizations
    Chapter One. Improving Performance through a Lean Transformation
    Chapter Two. Establishing a Context for Improving Organizational Performance
    Part I. From Knowledge to Practice: Exercises
    Part II Overview. Understanding Basic Concepts of Lean Thinking
    Chapter Three. Value Streams, Wasteful Activities, and Unacceptable Results
    Chapter Four. Performance Measures
    Part II. From Knowledge to Practice: Exercises
    Part III Overview. Using Lean Tools and Methods
    Chapter Five. Value Stream and Process Flow Mapping
    Chapter Six. Problem Solving to Identify Improvement Opportunities
    Chapter Seven. Implementing Improvements and Tracking Results
    Part III. From Knowledge to Practice: Exercises
    Part IV Overview. Sustaining Improvements Over Time
    Chapter Eight. Creating a Culture of Organizational Learning and Your Lean
    Chapter Nine. Case Studies of Lean Transformations in Service Organizations
    Part IV. From Knowledge to Practice: Exercises
    Appendix A. Logic Models
    Resource Material

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