Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Birth Of Lean From Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.

The Birth of Lean

The Birth Of Lean From Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc.

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Product Description

There are a lot of books that describe the Toyota Production System, but most do so in a way that implies that there was a master plan to create a company-wide improvement system. But as the pioneers in The Birth of Lean explain, there was no master plan-TPS came about through experimentation, trial and error, and an evolution of ideas that shaped Toyota's structure and management system. Through interviews and annotated talks, you will hear first-person accounts of what these innovators and problem-solvers did and why they did it. In The Birth of Lean, you'll get a glimpse inside the minds and thought processes of the system's creators and innovators: ? Taiichi Ohno-the man who envisioned a way of working that would evolve into the Toyota Production System ? Eiji Toyoda-the former Toyota President and Chairman who oversaw the development of TPS and the inclusion of TQC at Toyota ? Kikuo Suzumura-the Toyota manager recognized as the most influential in translating Ohno's ideas into actionable items ? Michikazu Tanaka-the manager and executive at Toyota affiliate Daihatsu who adapted TPS to his organization ? Kaneyoshi Kusunoki-the former head of Toyota's production engineering organization who refined the buffering system in use in Toyota's operations ? Masao Nemoto-the Toyota executive central to the deployment of TQC at Toyota In this English translation of a previously published Japanese book, you'll hear the words of the people who created the countermeasures that Toyota devised to address issues as they arose-countermeasures that they continue to use and adapt today. By understanding that the great minds that developed such a powerful system started with simple experiments, you'll be encouraged to begin your own experiments and transform your organization.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #61431 in Books
  • Published on: 2009
  • Original language: English
  • Dimensions: .79" h x 6.10" w x 9.06" l, 1.28 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5A treasure full with insights on the start of Lean
By Bas Vodde
The Birth of Lean is a collection of six interviews with people who influences the creation of the Toyota Production System; what became later known as lean manufacturing and lean thinking. The book is a translation of the Japanese book which was published in 2001. This book is full of stories, insights and nuggets of knowledge, but it is not for people who are new to lean. The book assumes you already have an understanding of lean and the TPS.

The first interview is with Taiichi Ohno, the father of the TPS. Its a three hour interview, but was done without tape recorder, so it is a summary of the notes written by the interviewer. It makes the interview somewhat short, but still contains interesting and little known facts about how the TPS was created (for example, having to wait three years before he could introduce kanban because of the "tax people")

The second interview is called "What I Learned from Taiichi Ohno" by Michikazu Tanaka who worked close together with Ohno when he was at Daihatsu. This interview is my personal favorite one as it contains a huge amount of Ohno-isms (short stories about Taiichi Ohno). It is full of insights about TPS and how Ohno taught it to other people.

The third interview is with Kikuo Suzumura who worked under Ohno and was one of the people who did the real early implementation of these ideas and perhaps one of the secret inventors of many of the TPS techniques. He describes all the problems he encountered over time and what kind of innovative solutions they came up with. This interview is by far the most technical one.

The fourth interview is with Kaneyoshi Kusunoki who worked under Ohno and is one of the co-authors of the first English-language paper about the TPS (which is reprinted in this book). The interview itself is short, but insightful. The paper is surprisingly well-written and I wonder why it hasn't been reprinted in the earlier lean materials.

The fifth interview is with Masao Nemoto who was the major force behind the TQC implementation inside Toyota. Much talk about Toyota is about the TPS, but the Toyota TQC is rarely mentioned (even though they won the Deming prize twice). Nemoto talks about things such as the evolution of policy deployment and about management of QC circles. He looks at Toyota from a slightly different perspective as the others, which makes his interview very interesting.

The last interview is Eji Toyoda, who in senior management positions during the development of the TPS and the deployment of TQC. There are actually two interviews where Eji talks about the strategic decisions made by Toyota during his period. His humbleness is especially striking.

All in all, this is a book full of little insights in Toyota and Lean which makes it well worth reading it. However this is not a beginner book! The whole book assumes that you already know Lean and TPS well. So, if you want to know more about Lean... you probably first want to look into "Lean Thinking" or "The Toyota Way." If you already got a deeper understanding of the topic then this is a book you certainly do not want to miss.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Historical Insight Of Lean
By Brian R. Buck
"The Birth Of Lean" published by the Lean Enterprise Institute is a terrific book. This book is for people who want to gain a deeper insight into the thinking and struggles Toyota went through to develop what we call Lean.

I have been on my Lean Journey for 1.5 years. This book was perfect for someone at my stage of learning. I do not think this is a good introduction to Lean but functions as a book to help get a deeper understanding of the topics. If Lean was a college course, this would be a book for the level 300 classes.

The most powerful aspect of this book was the first person narrative from TPS & TQC pioneers such as Taiichi Ohno, Masao Nemoto, and Eiji Toyoda. I felt I was able to "get into their head" for a bit and understand their thinking and perspectives.

There are many gems in this book and different things that stood out to me.

* SCOLDING - This surprised me to see how often the speakers talk about scolding workers and showing what went wrong and why. I am not suggesting this becomes a new practice, but this really shows an approach Toyota took to creating a learning organization. Many Lean transformations strive for the feel-good approach.

* EXPERIMENTATION - Toyota just kept trying new things over and over again. They stopped the line and kept at it. They did not wait for a workshop. They practiced GAMBARE (just do it).

* TWO PILLARS - I was surprised to read that Ohno's Toyota Production System was created almost in parallel with Nemoto's Total Quality Control. The two systems complimented each other but were not made in conjunction. Most Lean literature has merged these two systems and call it TPS but they were independent for quite a while.

If you want to think like the pioneers of Lean, this book will let you hear directly from them. There are many nuggets inside the book that will be valuable for you.

Conflict of interest disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes.

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
5Toyota Insight
By Tony Polidori
Great book for those who worked in Toyota. Each interview should be read multiple times. It has subtle key points within the information each Toyota member shares with the interviewer. We get to get a glimpse of how each of those interviewed thinks, the struggles they were going through and the effort it took to achieve. For those who try to implement TPS in various companies, it is revealing and validating. For leaders who put people in charge to implement TPS, it should serve as a loud, clear, concrete message that "LEADERSHIP INVOLVEMENT, AND PERSERVERENCE IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL AND REQUIRED" for TPS to evolve. If leaders don't lead, then they can expect limited short term impact. I recommend reading The Toyota Leaders, as well to gain even more insight into the minds of those who guided Toyota to their success. A long term philosophy that appears to be missing in most other companies.
For those who haven't worked at Toyota, please continue to try and learn from experience based on TPS Basic Thinking. There is a Spirit inside Toyota that is hard to understand unless you've been fortunate enough to experience it firsthand in the early days of USA, Canada plants and in the training we received in Japan.


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