“We’re Different: Applying Lean to Knowledge Work” (August 2019).  Knowledge work has unique characteristics that can make the application of operational excellence concepts difficult.  This article provides several suggestions as how to best approach the subject.  It appeared in the August edition of FIA magazine.  Click here to go to the article.

“Lean Layout Do’s and Don’ts” (May 2019).  This article, authored by Austin Weber appeared in Assembly Magazine.  The articles talks about the need for flexibility and flow when designing efficient assembly lines.  Important considerations for layout design are provided.  Drew Locher contributed to the article.  Click here to go to the article.

“What Leaders Can Learn From Science” (May 2019).  This article published in FIA, the magazine of the Forging Industry Association, reviews several scientific laws and theories and how they can apply to management.  Newton’s First Law of Motion, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and others are discussed, and how they apply to organizations. Click here for a copy of the article.

“Lean Culture Drives Continuous Improvement” (December 2018).  This article published in Assembly Magazine discusses the importance of developing a sustainable culture for continuous improvement, as well as what is really needed to achieve this lofty objective.  The article includes contributions from U.S. Synthetic Corporation, that has a mature CI culture, as well as several long term Lean practitioners, including Drew Locher.  Click here to go to the article.

“Step on It: Accelerating Your Lean Transformation” (Summer 2018).  Every organization is trying to accelerate their lean transformation.  This is possible if they learn from organizations that went before them.  This article provides several important tips from past experience that, if heeded from the outset, can help speed up a lean transformation.  It appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of ‘Target’ magazine, the periodical from the Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME).  Click here for a copy of the article.

“Andon Cues Service Center to Respond” (March 2018): This article written by Chet Marchwinski of the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI), describes the application of Andon in an insurance company.  Andon systems identify abnormalities to summon a quick response.  Manufacturing examples abound, but application to services is rare.  See how it can be done to help manage customer flow.  Click here to go to the article.

“How Lean Makes a Job Shop Better” (October 2017): This article appeared in “The Fabricator”, the periodical of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA).  It describes 9 practical steps to implementing Lean concepts in the challenging ‘job shop’ environment.  The key is to adapt the concepts to the needs of each job shop.   Click here to go to the article.

“9 Basic Myths of Accounting” (July 2017): This article appeared in ‘The Fabricator’, the periodical of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA).  The article covers the 9 classic issues that arise in many organizations with regard to their Accounting practices.  These become particularly important when implementing Lean concepts.  Drew Locher contributed to the article written by Tim Heston.  Click here to go to the article.

“We’re Different!” Overcoming the Challenges of Applying Lean Principles to Knowledge Work” (May 2017): This article appeared in the newsletter for GxP Lifeline published by MasterControl for the Life Sciences industry.  It provides some practical advice to overcome some of the more common challenges faced when applying Lean to knowledge work. Click here to go to the article.

“What Too Many Value Stream Maps Completely Miss” (March 2016): Posted on the Lean Enterprise Institute’s  ‘The Lean Post’ this article explains the use of the powerful future state questions when designing lean future states for any manufacturing or information process.  Unfortunately practitioners of the VSM tool often do not use them, choosing to take a ‘war on waste’ approach.  Click here to go to the article.

Lean Global Network Interview (March 2016): ‘Planet Lean’, the Lean Global Network Journal interviewed Drew Locher of Change Management Associates on a variety of subjects including; his experiences dating back to the 1980s and what he has learned, the differences working with small- and medium-sized organizations, lean as applied to office and service environments, knowledge work, and innovation, specifically 3P.  Click here for a transcript of the interview.

Observations from a Front Seat at a Healthcare Organization (March 2015): This article posted on the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value’s blog site describes personal experiences of a healthcare system based on daily interactions over a five week period of time.  Clearly healthcare has a long way to go.  Click here for a link to the article.

Lean Product Development Interview (February 2015): Facilitated by Invetech in Melbourne Australia, this interview covers the application of value stream mapping to the product development process as depicted in the book “Value Stream Mapping for Lean Development.”  Click here for a transcript of the interview.

Kata Konfusion: this interview by the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) covers the subject of Toyota Kata.  Discussed are some key points that are commonly missed when applying the rapid PDCA improvement methodology.  Organizations tend to overlook the importance of the approach to creating the mindsets and skills of those practicing it to become more amenable to change, and to develop their problem solving and process improvement skills.  Click here for a transcript of the interview.

Exact Blog (September 2014): “How Technology & Lean Principles Can Help Small Businesses Expand Internationally”.  Drew Locher of CMA contributed to a blog hosted by software solution provider Exact.  Click here for the article.

LEI Article (January 2013): An article based on the Introduction from the book “Lean Office & Service Simplified” (a 2012 Shingo Prize recipient) appears on the Lean Enterprise Institute website.  Click here for the article.

ASQ Continuity eMagazine (Summer 2012): “Lean and Green: Expanding Your Eyes for Waste”.  The article for ASQ discusses how lean and green concepts provide a powerful combination that can significantly reduce wastes of various forms thereby providing substantial cost savings to any organization.  Click here for the article, which appears on page 6.

Lean Management Journal (June 2012): Drew Locher wrote an article titled “Bringing Order to Chaos”.  It covers the subject of achieving standardization in an office & service environment.  Click here for the journal.  The article can be found on page 25.

Retail Environments (March 2012): Drew Locher wrote an article “It’s All in How You Say It – Words Matter in Continuous Improvement.  The article discusses several important points when practicing CI and problem solving including: Deming’s emphasis on “experimentation” and the need to “drive out fear”.  Also covered are the often unintentional responses to seemingly innocent questions that can seriously undermine a CI or problem solving effort.  Click here for the article.

Target Magazine (Fourth Issue, 2011): An article “Lean Office: Get People Involved in Change” appeared.  The article describes the effort at MarquipWardUnited in Hunt Valley, MD to apply lean concepts in non-production areas.  Drew Locher contributed to the article.  Click here for the article — available to AME members only.

Stamping Journal (July/August 2011): An article written by Drew Locher titled “Five Pitfalls to Avoid When Implementing SMED” appeared.  It describes the five most common reasons why Quick Changeover or Set-up Reduction efforts fail in organizations.  Click here for the article.

AME Target Online Magazine (June 2011): An article titled “Leadership, Excellence and Standard Work” written by Drew Locher of CMA appeared.  It describes several of the key themes and learning points at the annual Shingo Conference held in April 2011.  These include: “going to the gemba”, leaders teaching the principles within their organizations, and others.  Click here for the article — available to AME members only.

Plastics Today (April 2011):  An article titled “Lean Journey Leads to Fat Rewards” tells of the successes that Remcon Plastics in Reading PA has achieved with the application of Lean concepts.  Reducing scrap rates from 6-7% to 0.5-1.5% is just one such example.  Equally important is that Remcon is laying the proper foundation for a sustainable lean system.  Standard work is being developed, including that for the leaders.  Basic problem solving skills of the workforce are being enhanced.  CMA has supported Remcon Plastics in these and other areas. For the article, click here.

Lean Office & Services Podcast (June 2010): Many companies representing a wide variety of industries have struggled with the application of lean concepts to office and service environments.  Many still see it as a “manufacturing thing”.  Drew Locher participated in a podcast on this subject.  Click here for the article.

Manufacturing Digital (April 2010): Drew Locher of Change Management Associates wrote an article titled “Creating Continuous Flow” for the on-line magazine  The eight-step process to implement continuous flow concepts in a manufacturing environment is covered.  Click here for the article.

Assembly Magazine (February and March 2010): A3s continue to be misunderstood and misused.  People do not fully understand the intent of the document and the process of creating it.  Austin Weber wrote two separate articles covering the subject.  “The ABC’s of A3 Reports” appeared in the February 24, 2010 issue (article).  “How to Write an A3 Report” appeared in the March 26, 2010 issue (article).  Drew Locher contributed to both articles.

Value Stream Mapping Podcast (December 2009): Value Stream Mapping has been described as the “assessment and planning tool of lean practitioners”.  It answers the most common questions such as; “Where do we start?”, “What lean tools should I be looking to apply?”, “What results can I expect to achieve?”  Drew Locher participated in an approx. 20 minutes podcast on the use of the powerful Value Stream Mapping tool, and the common pitfalls in the use of the tool. Click for access to the podcast.

Lean Manufacturing & ERP (March 2009).  This article written by Jean Thilmany of, discusses how ERP can be utilized in a Lean Manufacturing environment.  Drew Locher of CMA contributed one of several viewpoints on the subject.  For a copy of this article click here.

Retail Environments (November – December 2009) In this issue Drew Locher wrote an article titled “Applying Lean Thinking to the Sales”.  The article describes the typical approach taken to apply lean concepts to the important sales function.  It is imperative that an organization fully leverage the gains made by the application of lean by increasing the value delivered to its customers and markets.  This puts pressure on sales and marketing processes and personnel who must find better ways to perform their functions.  This is particularly the case in today’s economic environment.  For a copy of this article click here.

Retail Environments (May – June 2009). Retail Environments is the periodical for the Association for Retail Environments (ARE).  In this issue, Drew Locher wrote an article titled “Lean in the Office: Even in Creative and Variable Work Environments Standard Work Can Reduce Lead Times and Ensure Quality”.  It provides an in-depth discussion of this important concept, and how it applies to office and service environments.  The article identifies the key elements that must be present in all standard work, as well as responses to the most commonly heard arguments against it.  For a full length copy of this article click here.

Georgia Printer (July 2008) is a periodical geared for the Printing Industry, and in particular for those located in the Southeastern U.S..  Drew Locher wrote a brief article titled “Lean Thinking in the Office” that describes some of the concepts that can be applied to streamline the critical “pre-press” process and the information flows associated.  CMA has worked with numerous printers both in the office and in production to successfully apply lean and operational excellence concepts.  For a copy of this article click here.

Industry Week (September 2008).  An article on the subject of “Creating Level Pull in the Office” written by Drew Locher appeared.  This article provides an in-depth description of the application of pull concepts in an office environment.  People have struggled mightily with the application of pull in non-production applications.  That is because people still do not understand this important concept.  This article breaks down the concept into its basic elements, and clearly describes the characteristics necessary for a successful pull implementation in an office environment.  Various examples are also provided. For a copy of the article click here.

Stamping Journal (April – May 2008) is a periodical of the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA).  In this two-part article, Drew Locher describes the typical approach to apply Lean concepts in a Stamping operation.  Topics covered include: Standard Work, Quick Changeover, Total Productive Maintenance, Workplace Organization, and others. For a copy of this article click here.

Retail Environments (March – April 2008): Is the periodical for the Association for Retail Environments (ARE).  In this issue, Drew Locher wrote an article, “Lean Thinking in the Office”: Organize Administrative and Office Processes by Value Stream Rather Than Function”.  In this article, the author challenges traditional ways in which companies are organized that give rise to departmental or functional “silos”.  Organizing by process or value stream can dramatically improve flow and improve lead time and quality.  For a copy of this article click here.

Quality Progress (October 2007): Is the periodical of the American Society for Quality (ASQ).  In this issue, Drew Locher wrote an article, “In the Office: Where Lean And Six Sigma Converge”.  The article describes how various lean concepts help to reduce variability in any office environment.  For a copy of this article click here.