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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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"The fundamentals of this system are applicable to every industry across the globe . . . [and] will have a profound impact on human society--it will truly change the world."-- "New York Times Magazine""A revealing and compellingly readable account of Japan's achievemnt in revolutionizing manufacturing . . . An eye-opener even for those who already knew Japan didn't do it all with robots."-- "Financial Times"The best current book on the changes reshaping manufacturing and the most readable."-- "Business Week
About the Author
James P. Womack is the president and founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute (www.lean.org), a nonprofit education and research organization based in Brookline, Massachusetts.
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A great book that although becoming a little outdated portrays the ongoing trends in the automobile production industry in three major cultural areas.
The three areas are;the Asian lean production (Toyota) v.s. the American system,(mass production) v.s. the European craftsman system. On a larger scale it will and is affecting manufacturing everywhere.
Henry Ford was the founder of the American mass production system, and Ford was very successful adopting it to the aircraft and steel industries. American companies adopted this system and it is one of the main reasons for American pre-eminence in many industries worldwide. Toyota has become the founder of the Lean system of manufacturing. Most of the
early adherents to this system were other large Japanese companies, and responsible for the Japanese manufacturing miracle since the 1960's, as it was adapted from automotive to all manner of industries.
The book is well written and interesting even though it is based on an MIT study of global trends in the auto industry. I would like to see an update to this book. The one anomaly I see is the German Automobile industry. If Japan and Korea have some of the most efficient auto manufacturing plants in the world and
North America is becoming more competitive, what is happening in Europe comes as no surprise. Many European automakers have yet to fully embrace American mass production techniques and are now faced with the greater efficiencies of Lean
production. The book does not explain in my mind the success of the German Auto industry. It seems to be the one exception to the rule.
Although the book focuses on auto manufacturers (mainly Toyota), a reader should not expect a detailed account of Toyota's supply chain or operations management, but rather a survey of concepts and a view of how Toyota has applied these methods and/or how other auto manufacturers have lagged on applying these techniques. The book provides many comparisons to assist the reader in understanding (the general approach per chapter is to give an overview of the mass production system, and then give its improved lean production counterpart). The book does not give any practically methodology on how to convert a non-lean production system over to a lean one, but there are many other books out there that can delve into this further.
If you are looking for a book to introduce you to lean production, written in laymen's terms, using a model that almost all of us can understand I strongly recommend this book. However, you will need more background/research than this book provides to actually apply lean operations methodologies if you so desire.