Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
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
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Library Journal
- Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad. Lib., West Point, N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Discover books for all types of engineers, auto enthusiasts, and much more. Learn more
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"..GM under good ole Roger Smith spent umpteen billions of dollars on robots, and their cars were still crap (and even better, when GM and Toyota did a joint factory in California in around 1980, they discovered that the most hi tech thing in the plant was a secretary's typewriter)
3)"Cheap Labor"....nuff said about that
4)"We could build as good a car as them (meaning Toyota, Nissan, etc) if we built only a few models". Problem? Toyota had more product lines then any of the big 3 at the time.
5)"We have team labor".....on the surface, yes, but when looked at you find the same old hierarchical management and decisions made by beancounters.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this book, and some surprises (anyone wanna know why Benz bought Chrysler? Benz production capability is one of the lousiest in the world as written about in this book, and I hear it isn't much better today).
One of the things that this book teaches is that a lot of the cost of vehicles is based in bad design, poor management and in an attitude that problems, no matter how small, can be overlooked. People are asking how developed countries can compete with third world labor, this tells how.
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. Cars ride on highways, but today's businesses are quickly shifting gear and using a super fast highway for collaborating and for managing their global presence. Thanks to the Internet, the economics of information is transforming the economics of things. Dell is probably a good example of the new business model that could not have been imagined in the 80's. The tearing down of artificial walls across countries and continents also happened in the last decade.
We are badly in need of a repeat research study of the kind done in this book, in the face of the new realities. Global companies run by global citizens serving a global market and using a global currency will probably happen sooner than we expect.