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The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production-- Toyota's Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That Is Now Revolutionizing World Industry Paperback – March 13, 2007
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- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad. Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This study of the world automotive industry by a group of MIT academics reaches the radical conclusion that the much vaunted Mercedes technicians are actually a throwback to the pre-industrial age, while Toyota is far ahead in costs and quality by building the automobiles correctly the first time. The lesson that it cost more to fix it than to build it correctly should be applicable to a lot of industries--not just manufacturing. The description of the marketing information system that Toyota uses was very enlightening. They involve the entire company in generating marketing feedback. Even dealer sales staff spend time working on the new product teams. Trust me, very few high-tech firms methodically collect feedback from their customers, and none have a system this comprehensive.
This is not just a book about lean production--this is guidance in understanding how your business operates and delivering good products that your customers want.
Yes, Toyota is much of the focus in this book and it can sometimes seem to border on the PR level, but that doesn't take away from the information in this book. Having had access to most of the auto manufacturers when this study was done, and seeing the nuts and bolts, it is what people do wrong at other places that is as important as what Toyota had been doing right (a trend, I might add, that in recent years has dimmed, Toyota has had embarassing quality faults recently). The book does mention that what Toyota "pioneered" was not entirely homegrown, many of the techniques existed, but Toyota was unique in the auto world in the number of things they chose to adopt (as a counterpoint, when the 70's hit and the US auto makers started having real competition, they hired Dr. Edwards Demming as a consultant, he told them many of the things that this book points out and they basically paid the check, used it for PR about how they were serious, and ignored him).
And these are not new issues and continue to plague companies, fallacies like:
1)"It is the fault of the labor force"..while the UAW has not exactly been cutting edge, what this book points out is something known in quality circles for years, that most of the problems are using your labor force badly, not listening to them, and just plain bad management.
2)"The secret is robotics"..Read more ›
What Ford's mass production did to craft production and its profound effects on the developed economies in the first half of the last century is an old but interesting story. With the advent of Ford's manufacturing techniques, there was a consolidation in the Auto industry. Within a couple of decades the number of automobile manufacturers fell from over a hundred to less than twenty and the big three cornering over ninety percent of the market share. Detroit became the center of pilgrimage for the rest of the world trying to emulate and replicate this success story in other continents.
Silently, the Japanese led by Toyota were working on a different concept of putting the automobile in the hands of the customer, at better quality, lesser costs, shorter development times and with the ability to offer a wider choice. The statistics collected from these "lean systems" is mind boggling. The competitive advantage that Japan enjoyed over the American system was neither due to lower wages in Japan nor due to higher levels of automation as widely believed. It was primarily the lean machine that was conquering the mass machine.
This book is based on the research done in the 1980's and published around 1990. The authors while acclaiming lean manufacturing as the panacea for the ills of manufacturing systems globally had at the time of the research and the publication of this work, probably ignored the next major change that would sweep across continents.Read more ›
I've worked both for GM (twice) and in Japan for a Japanese automotive supplier, and I can attest that this book really got it right.
Unfortunately, while everyone in Detroit has read this book, they have never followed any of its advice or conclusions. All the talk about restructuring the US automobile manufacturers is simply about reducing costs and not about making better products by working cooperatively with employees, suppliers, dealers, and customers. Instead, Detroit continues to beat up suppliers on price and wonders why their quality is poor, push employees on wages and wonders why employees care little if the company is successful, haggle with their dealer network to push unwanted cars onto unreceptive customers.
We can bail out the industry financially, but until they learn to compete with the Japanese, they are doomed to decreasing relevance and increasing losses.
This book isn't exciting to read, but nearly 20 years since its original publication, it remains as relevant as ever.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Before reading this one I actually had a chance to read "Driving Honda" by Jeffrey Rothfeder in which I noticed this one mentioned a number of times. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Arshad Altaf
Really helps one understand the uniqueness and benefits of Toyota's total enterprise business system.Published 4 months ago by Bob Bennett
For the history of Automotives in this country there can't be a book found with more detailed interesting history !Published 5 months ago by Russ Baker
A super classical. Must have it, must read it (at least if you work in the manufacturing area or in the engineering one). Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joejoe