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Rebirth of American Industry Paperback – December 15, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: PCS Press (December 15, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0971243638
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971243637
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


This book provides a prescription that should lead American companies to return manufacturing to our shores. -- Doug Nelson, President, APICS, Portland

This excellent book will make some enemies. It is outspoken, hard-hitting, and correct. -- Brian Maskell, author

From the Publisher

In my own personal journey, studying Toyota and the other leading Japanese manufacturers these past twenty five years, I was continually amazed at what I discovered and was continually puzzled why GM and Ford did not do what I did, learn from the best and then to forcefully apply the new methodologies in their companies.

On my first study mission to Japan in February 1981, I visited the American Embassy in Tokyo and met with the information officer. His job was to study the best Japanese technologies and to have that information translated to English to help American companies stay abreast of what was happening in Japan. I was furious at him to have not discovered what Toyota was doing to go from producers of "junk" to world class. His budget, millions of dollars, to spend on translations was hundreds times greater than mine.

Somehow, I was surely blessed to have met Dr. Shigeo Shingo, Mr. Taiichi Ohno, Dr. Ryuji Fukuda, Seiichi Nakajima, Dr. Yoji Akao, Hiroyuki Hirano, Shigehiro Nakamura, Bunji To-zawa, Iwao Kobayashi, Kenichi Sekine and others who were willing to share their information with Americans and allowed me to publish their Japanese books in English.

It shortly became obvious to me from my frequent visits to Japan, 63 as of this date, that the Toyota Production System (TPS) was the most important and the most valuable to study. At first, when I met Mr. Taiichi Ohno, vice-president of manufacturing at Toyota, I asked him to let me have things in writing about TPS. He said, "Norman, we don't have things written down, for it is always changing." I felt that he was just reluctant to share the information that was making Toyota so successful. But, I was perseverant. I wouldn't stop searching for information to share with companies in the West. I magically found Dr. Shingo, co-creator with Ohno of TPS, and he graciously allowed me to publish all of his books in English. After a few years Mr. Ohno also gave me permission to publish also his books in English.

But, why wouldn't GM and Ford do the same? Why wouldn't they locate, translate and publish everything available on Toyota? It is still a mystery to me. In 1984, Toyota decided to open a joint venture plant with GM, NUMMI, to share their production system with GM. Virtually, all of Toyota's secrets were now available to GM. Why didn't GM study carefully the JIT/LEAN concepts and apply them? And through the books I subsequently published, when I owned Productivity Press, most of what Toyota was doing was available to everyone.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
Then my friend gave me his copy of this book.
Judd Vance
This book is tremendous for understanding the power of accounting systems, metrics, and the management assumptions that exist in a company.
Rebirth of American Industry is an important book.
Doug Nelson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Meyer on December 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Over the past several months you've probably enjoyed Bill Waddell's hard-hitting posts on Superfactory's Evolving Excellence Blog ([...]) as much as I have. His propensity to challenge the status quo with historical facts has been a breath of fresh air and has forced the lean community to think about the stability of its own foundation.

Bill, in collaboration with Shingo Prize winning author Norman Bodek, has just released a new book, Rebirth of American Industry - A Study of Lean Management. In it he uses his in-your-face style to take issue with several commonly-held lean beliefs, and the companies that mistakenly believe they are lean. The book has already received considerably acclaim from early reviewers.

Brian Maskell, President of BMA, Inc. and one of the leaders of the lean accounting movement, has this to say:

"This excellent book will make some enemies. It is outspoken, hard-hitting, and correct. The authors answer the question "whay have so few American companies successfully transformed themselves into lean organizations". They take us back to the origins of lean at Ford Motor Company and Toyota, and contrast them with the modern American manufacturer. The solutions advocated will be unpopular because they cut to the heart of "professional" management theory and show that the lean transformation must start not on the shop-floor but by active transformation in the executive offices.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Meier on February 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
First thing I thought (and anyone I mention this book to mentions) is: "For $47 this had better be a good book!" It is. Don't let the price stop you from buying it. I gave it 4 stars only because the printing and quality are not top notch- something I would expect in a book of this cost. But look at it this way, you are not spending the money on a fancy book, you are spending it on the CONTENT of the book. In this case, if you use the content wisely, it could in fact be worth millions.

As a full time lean consultant and author, I am continuously frustrated by the lack of real success in Lean throughout manufacturing. I intuitively understand what is at the root of the limited success, but this book makes it clear. Every "manufacturing" company in the world- with the exception of Toyota and maybe a few others- uses a measurement system that will drive the business in the opposite direction of lean. It is so ingrained that virtually everyone is in staunch support of the old method. So, in any company, lean "success" can only go so far until it bumps up against the standard "Sloan method" of management. That's when everyone starts to panic and the wheels fall off.

I have worked in numerous companies where everyone could see and measure (using lean measurement of waste and time) a process and understand that overall it was more efficient and lower cost, but when measured with the standard measurement methods it loses, and is not adopted. It is a classic case of the Emperors new clothes. We can all see that the Emperor is naked, but no one is willing to step up and fight the fight. We are simply outnumbered and the fight is sure career suicide. Why fight it?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By on June 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
First of all, You should know, that I have received a hand-signed copy of this book for free. While this has absolutely no influence on my opinion about the book, if You don't believe that, please read on with the next reviewer.

In this book, Bill describes the hystory of manufacturing and management systems, starting from Henry Ford's legendary Highland Park plant, continuing with Eiji Toyoda creating the world's most famous car company, all the way to today's sad situation in GM, Ford and many other companies.

In particular, Bill focusses on what lean manufacturing meant in Ford's early days, and how this was embedded and supported by a lean, cash-driven management system. He continues with describing, how this business system was applied and brought to perfection in Toyota. As a contrast to these success stories, Bill describes in great detail the long evolution path of most businesses from successful manufacturing companies supported by finance and marketing into collapsing finance and marketing corporations with ever decreasing manufacturing performance.

Bill describes, how lean manufacturing with a strong focus on respect for people, quality, flow and synchronisation was as a natural result of a sound business system, combined with the need to create superior customer value with limited cash and the lack of a sophysticated controlling system.

He also shows, how disregarding people, quality, flow and synchronisation lead to today's typical large corporations, hiring and firing people as variable costs, facing countless quality issues and carrying mountains of inventory, which physically stops the flow of products and cash.
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