From Publishers Weekly
There's a missionary zeal to this book for corporate managers: it wants to convert companies the world over to the streamlined production process pioneered by Toyota after WWII. Womack and Jones chronicled Toyota's concept of lean production in The Machine That Changed the World, and embarked in 1990 on a tour of North America, Europe and Japan to persuade organizations, managers, employers and investors that mass production was out of date and should be chucked for something better. They formed a network of companies and individuals dedicated to lean production. Network members, whose stories form the basis of the book, gather annually to update procedures and refine theory. Showa Manufacturing, a Japanese maker of radiators and boilers, for instance, pulled itself out of an earnings slump by changing from mass-producing batches of standardized equipment to producing customized small lots. Heavily laden with details, this is for specialists who want to streamline. It makes few references to the larger, global economy. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
In The Machine That Changed the World (1990), Womack and Jones, along with Daniel Roos, lauded the manufacturing technique used by Japanese automakers, known as "lean production" and also as the Toyota Production System. Lately, though, some critics have argued that "lean production" has been used as simply an excuse for downsizing, and recent books, such as David Gordon's Fat and Mean (1996), have questioned whether corporate trimming has been effective at all. Undaunted, Womack and Jones argue their case anew. They now move beyond "lean production" to propose "the lean enterprise" and describe the successes at 25 U.S., Japanese, and German companies that have effectively implemented the "lean principles" of value (as defined by the customer), value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. Because their earlier book has sold well, this follow-up could generate interest. David Rouse
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