One-piece Flow for Information Products?

Organizations that produce documents — whether they are publications for sale, standard tests for schools, legal templates, or work instructions for production — face challenges that differ from manufacturing, because data and materials don’t flow the same way. The production of a document by a team is a process of collaborative editing, not a fixed sequence of standardized operations.

With electronic documents, you need a revision management system to prevent inconsistent updates, you need to cap the number of documents in process to control lead time, and you may need to improve the work flow or increase the team size if saturated.

Tools like 5S are irrelevant in this context, because the work takes place inside a computer network, not in the physical office, and setting up an effective network — with the right software properly configured — requires information systems professionals at the state of the art. What looks like rework in this context is a collaborative editing process that must be managed, not eliminated.

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