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Virtuosos of Lean Production,
This review is from: Lean Machines: Learning From the Leaders of the Next Industrial Revolution (Paperback)
This is a hot book! I coached a team of manufacturing managers who worked in a large traditional factory. Our job was to study manufacturing operations in companies that had adopted Toyota's productivity methods and policies. While the men and women on the team had read about lean production, they were disquieted and perhaps even disturbed by obviously highly performing plants that were organized and operated according to principles foreign to their beliefs. At each plant we visited their discomfort deepened. Then, somewhere between the second and fourth visit, each manager had an epiphany. There was some kind of logical reorganization of the manufacturing furniture in their minds and they "got it", as they described the event. Others said, "the light came on." They saw the fundamental logic and sense underlying each lean factory even though each facility assembled pieces of Toyota's productivity methods and policies into its own unique manufacturing system. Interestingly, each member of the visit team became a passionate believer of lean manufacturing. The greatest skeptics became the most outspoken advocates. They called it "getting religion."
People who successfully implement lean manufacturing must be strong believers and must have a personal mental model of lean that functions at the level of a craft - a creative skill for assembling productivity methods and policies into powerfully efficient manufacturing machines. As the great Japanese coaches from Toyota teach Westerners, there is no cookbook, lean is a way of thinking.
The literature on lean production is disappointing. Lean manufacturing books tend to be long dreary laundry lists of productivity methods and technical techniques for quality. There is little available that gives insight into how the great master craftsmen and craftswomen put together marvelous lean machines of production - until now.
This book by Richard McCormack finally brings us face to face with the creative processes of great designers of production systems. Imagine yourself as a novice artist sitting down for a conversation with Auguste Renoir, Vincent Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec or Michelangelo. That is what McCormack brings us in this book - chats with the virtuosos of lean production. Forget those paint-by-numbers books. Either go see the real thing or read "Lean Machines".