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Rebirth of American Industry Paperback – December 15, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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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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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: #2,138,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
A few years ago, I was at a football game, when I asked my best friend, who is an industrial engineer "What is all of this 'Lean' stuff I hear about?" He spent the next few years talking at length through examples and slides and presentations and e-mails from Bill Waddell's blogs. They were nice, but I didn't really 'get it'. I am a design engineer and my views before hand were that I don't understand business and those business leaders and accounting gurus just think at a higher level than me.

Then my friend gave me his copy of this book. I figured I would probably never read it and give it back to him in a few months. I figured it was written for 'Industrial Engineer nerds' and would be above my head. One night, as I am about ready to go to bed, I pick it up and decide to look at chapter 1, so I can at least say I tried to read it. All I can say is WOW!!!! 3 chapters later, I look at the clock and decide I should go to bed, since it then way past my bedtime. I spent the next few days blowing through chapter after chapter (and staying up too late). The scales fell off of my eyes and suddenly I saw the absurdity of modern business thinking and the beauty of lean. Before, I thought Lean was something like the kanban cards I used to stock my kitchen (yes, my friend did teach me this) on a wider scale, but it is so much more.

After this book, Bill's blogs made perfect sense. I started spreading the word to those around me about the absurdity of overhead absorption, lowest landed piece costs, making machines run around the clock when you don't need that many parts, creating bogus factory efficiency numbers, building unwanted inventory at the end of the quarter, and other absurd practices I noticed around me.
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