Lean Transformation in Service Organizations

A must-read for service professionals of every level, this essential book takes the proven Lean principles of the bestselling Toyota Way series and applies them directly to the industries where quality of service is crucial for success. Jeff Liker and Karyn Ross show you how to develop Lean practices throughout your organization using the famous 4P model. Whether you are an executive, manager, consultant, or frontline worker who deals with customers every day, you’ll learn how take advantage of all Lean has to offer.

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Topics Covered In The Book


Service Excellence 4Ps

Learn how the 4Ps of Philosophy, Process, People and Problem Solving work together to create a systemic, holistic approach to achieving service excellence.

17 Principles

See how principles such as deeply understanding customer needs, creating a deliberate culture and using technology to enable people apply in services.

What Lean Really Is

Find out how using the 4Ps and 17 principles to deliver service excellence for the long-term differs from 'leaning out processes' for short term results.

Continuous Improvement

Align the organization to solve problems and continuously improve and innovate so that customers are delighted now and for the long-term.

Delighting Customers

Deeply understand the needs of each of your customers so that you can consistently delight them with the service that will keep them loyal to your company forever.

Developing your people

Learn how to use the Coaching Kata and Improvement Kata to develop your people to be critical thinkers and creative problem solvers.

About The Authors

Jeffrey K. Liker & Karyn Ross

Jeffrey K. Liker

Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker is Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at University of Michigan and President of Liker Lean Advisors. He authored the international best-seller, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer, (26 languages, over 950,000 copies sold), and has coauthored nine other books about Toyota including Toyota Culture, The Toyota Product Development System, The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership and  Developing Lean Leaders at all Levels:  A Practical Guide. In 2016 he published The Toyota Way to Service Excellence and coauthored a lean transformation business novel called Trenches.  His articles and books have won twelve Shingo Prizes for Research Excellence. In 2012 he was inducted into the Association of Manufacturing Excellence Hall of Fame and in 2016 inducted into the Shingo Academy.


Karyn Ross

Karyn Ross is an experienced and adept consultant, coach and lean practitioner, Karyn has worked with all sizes and levels of organizations in sectors such as financial services, insurance, human resources, transportation and retail so that they develop a culture of improved business practices. Combining creativity with Toyota Way principles, Karyn is passionate about teaching companies how to discover and deliver the solutions that will satisfy each of their customers now and for the long-term. As well as being the coauthor of The Toyota Way to Service Excellence, Karyn has been a regular contributor to the Lean Leadership Ways Industry Week Blog, and has also written for The Lean Management Journal and Industrial Engineer Magazine. A practicing artist, with an MFA in Sculpture, Ross lives in Naperville, Illinois.


What Our Readers Are Saying

Many of us in leadership roles read a lot in the hopes of finding "that book" – the one that changes your paradigm around your role in transforming your organization, clarifying questions you've been asking yourself or ones you didn't know but you could somehow feel. For many, this is going to be "that book". As a healthcare executive and lean practitioner, I found The Toyota Way to Service Excellence to be full of key insighfs for my leadership. Jeff and Karyn remind us how our thinking needs to evolve around how we go about delivering value in service organizations, how we improve, and the most difficult yet important – how we lead others. -Mike Radtke, VP Clinical Operations – ThedaCare

M. Radtke

First, I highly recommend this book. As a retired Vice President of Quality Assurance, Plant Manager and college professor I am very familiar with and have used the Toyota methods extensively. In my experience I have found it is much more difficult to get buy-in to the Toyata way from service and administrative personnel than from manufacturing personnel. Liker and Ross have done an excellent job showing why and how the Toyota way can work in the service areas. They also did a great job showing why it must be done if organizations want to be more successful. I must caution that one size does not fit all and each organization must implement in a way that fits their organization. I received a free copy of The Toyota Way to Service Excellence by Jeffery K. Liker & Karyn Ross from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley.

J.A. Smith

Jeff shares with us another great book on the Toyota Way, not just by expanding the thinking to service, but also by clarifying again his deeper thoughts about the Toyota Way itself, in its clearer expression yet. Jeff and Karyn also make a wonderful job of showing very practical ways to jump into service issues with the Toyota Way, in a language adapted to service cultures and largely free of manufacturing lingo. A delightful read, and a real success. Read it, use it!

Michael Balle

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