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Product Development for the Lean Enterprise: Why Toyota's System is Four Times More Productive and How You Can Implement It Hardcover – January 1, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


...product development is a key to winning...a great roadmap and some tools to speed you on your way. -- John H. Weber, President and Chief Executive Officer, Eagle-Picher Industries, Inc.

A must-read for leaders that demands excellence in the development of new products. -- Dain M. Hancock, President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company

It leads you through the application of the principles step by step...it is even entertaining and fun to read. -- Emery Powell, New Product Development Manager, Texas Instruments

This book provides the silver bullet required to achieve the desired results -- great product design. -- Stephen N. Douthit (Retired), Vice President, Global Operations, Vickers

This is the secret weapon we've been waiting for, the opportunity to ratchet up design and development... -- Patricia E. Moody, CMC, author of Breakthrough Partnering, Powered by Honda, The Kaizen Blitz, The Technology Machine, The Purchasing Machine, The Perfect Engine, and The Incredible Payback

...great insight into the Toyota product development process and how the principles can be adapted to any business environment. --Richard Pearson, President, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS)

About the Author

After 30 years with Texas Instruments, the author now works extensively with the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, and companies such as General Motors, United Technologies, and Allied Signal, to enhance product development systems. This book is an outgrowth of a nationwide study involving a wide spectrum of companies to determine and document the most effective product development methodology.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Oaklea Press (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892538091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892538093
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #519,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Michael Kennedy's book, Product Development for the Lean Enterprise, gives an experienced insight into the dilemma faced by some of North America's largest organizations, those who have embraced management science in all of its complexity to win national awards, only to find they are unable to compete successfully at the customer level. Using an engaging fictional narrative, Kennedy provides a fresh insight into product development; this book will challenge your beliefs and understanding and likely intrigue you sufficiently to investigate how aspects of the process can be made applicable in your enterprise. It is a treasure trove of information on, not just its principal topic, Toyota's unique product development process, but details on establishing and operating "a process renewal team" and "large group interventions for organizational change".
In Michael Kennedy's very readable book, one is introduced to Toyota's design concepts, unconventional to the majority of us in corporate North America. Imagine your product development process stipulating:
* explore not one, but multiple design solutions at the same time;
* delay the design's narrowing process to as late as possible in the process;
* demand the building and testing of multiple design models and prototypes for performance conformity;
* have the development, retention and reuse of engineering knowledge and skills a top priority for the company;
* eliminate the use of complex integrated task based program and plans by delegating each program designer to prepare his/her own time-lines to meet fixed review dates and performance levels; and
* have functional engineering managers focus on teaching and mentoring engineering talent, not administration.
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Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful read! I actually felt excited while reading it; it kept me up until 2:30am to finish in a single sitting. The format alternates between a chapter of fictional story, and a chapter of the author's commentary on the story and how it applies to the broader picture.

This is one of the few emerging practical books that discusses solutions to the productivity of knowledge workers. Drucker would be proud, I think. Businesses that manage engineers, artists, or product designers tend to be based on the original theory of management: Frederick Taylor's. This approach is largely based on manual labour -- making and moving things. Knowledge work isn't like that. You can't make knowledge workers productive by directing them, because by definition they will have more specialized knowledge about their contribution than you, as a manager, ever will!

Lean thinking really is about recognizing this "third wave" of management: first, there was task analysis. Then, we focused on business process engineering. Now, we look specifically at knowledge and value creation.

Lean thinking at its core is only 4 principles: add nothing but value (eliminate waste), center on the people who add value, flow value from demand (defer decisions), and optimize across the organization.

This book explains these principles as applied to product development -- which is quite different than lean production.

It really should have the same business impact that Goldratt's THE GOAL had back in the 1980's, if more would take notice.
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Format: Hardcover
Thumbs up, but I'd recommend you attend his workshops over the book if the opportunity presents itself.

The book is written as a fictional account of a company's journey from process hell to an environment where engineers can devote themselves more completely to the craft they love. It is complete with protagonists and antagonists. The many men and women who have devoted large portions of their careers to wrestling with new product development process issues and trying to improve the quality and efficiency of product development processes may justifiably take offense at being cast as the antagonist, but it wouldn't be much of a story without the villains.

The book raises some very good issues and points out some very good practices that have contributed to Toyota's success. Toyota's design philosophy is optimized for lowest possible risk to model year goals. American management teams would do well to think about optimizing for low risk instead of highest efficiency and lowest development cost. For many companies the cost of developing a new product is a fairly modest portion of their overall cost structure and the price they pay for missing new product introduction dates is far greater than the gains from tailoring their internal processes for the lowest cost development.

The implementation of highly redundant development paths (called sets in the book) will be far less revolutionary than the book would have you believe. It really comes down to a willingness and ability to make the necessary investments. Readers who have studied Japanese companies will find much that is familiar. Publicly held Japanese companies are far less driven by quarterly results than are their American counter parts.
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