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Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation
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Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,764 ratings  ·  49 reviews

Expanded, updated, and more relevant than ever, this bestselling business classic by two internationally renowned management analysts describes a business system for the twenty-first century that supersedes the mass production system of Ford, the financial control system of Sloan, and the strategic system of Welch and GE. It is based on the Toyota (lean) model, which combi
Hardcover, Revised and Updated, 400 pages
Published June 10th 2003 by Free Press (first published September 1st 1996)
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Steven Peterson
Lean is a specific management technique to make an organization more efficient (and a private sector company more profitable). This book is a well written introduction to the subject. The authors, James Womack and Daniel Jones, provide lots of examples to illustrate their basic points. Thus, this is a very useful introduction to the subject, for those of us who are not experts on this matter.

To start at the beginning. . . . The enemy is "Muda," a Japanese word that means "waste," in all of its
Caroline Gordon
So glad I finally got onto reading some classic 'lean' texts. Much of the Agile literature talks about lean and what Toyota achieved, so reading this is going to fill out my understanding of the origins of the ideas. It's hard to believe how exactly the description of 'pre-lean' manufacturing in the 60s describes the current state of the IT industry. The waste involved in functional silos, queueing and batching, lack of visibility of the value stream. Music to my ears!
Yet another 5 star rating,
Angie McCain Crees
Most of the book was how to evaluate and implement Lean in a factory type setting. The process of and result from using a factory setting provides clear results and is statistically easier to measure the results. I would have liked more examples of lean processes in an environment that is more difficult to statistically measure before and after lean implementation. Still, it is a good book if you are interested in understanding what Lean is and how Lean might be useful in your business.
Karen Grothe
This book is considered the "bible" of Lean Thinking. The first section goes over the 5 principles of Lean, then the second section presents 6 case studies of Lean Thinking being implemented at various companies, and the third section talks about how to implement Lean principles and create a Lean Enterprise. I thought the ideas were very good, and I really appreciated the case studies to help me understand how they might be implemented in a workplace.
This was a suggestion from a peer at work to help me in my new role as a lean coach. Now that I have had training and lived in the beginning phases of a lean transformation, this book has given me additional insight into the concepts and principles of lean thinking and managing a lean organization. It you are starting a lean and transformation or want to understand how to identify waste and continuously improve you business, this book is necessary reading.
Krishna Kumar
The authors explore the concepts of lean thinking through several cases of lean implementation in companies from small concerns to large, global manufacturers. The book explains steps on how to implement lean thinking effectively and avoid mistakes that could hamper them. Finally, the authors look at industries that could benefit from lean thinking.
Philip Boling
I enjoyed the better insight into the manufacturing transformation which I witnessed in the 90's: the introduction of U shaped manufacturing cells, the emphasis on the concepts: value, flow and pull and the identification of huge automated manufacturing monstrosities as monuments.

Some of the competitive advantage of the Japanese was identified, but I was also left with questions: Denso for instance in my experience was never portrayed as a competitor on price, so if Denso had huge cost advantag
Will Burns
I'm not involved in manufacturing myself, but wanted to get an understanding of lean principles as they've had such an impact over the last 30 years. The great thing about the book is that you can see how applicable the principles are to all functions of a business (and the author gives examples). My only criticism is that it goes on too long. There are a few too many similar examples and the last few chapters about the future get too unpractical and lose the rhythm. However, overall a valuable ...more
Dan recommended I read this for work as a part of the all the lean thinking stuff at work. Many of the ideas and theories made sense and were mostly common sense and applied more to manufacturing than an office setting.

The parts that did apply to us are already in practice. Breaking down a process to see where you could apply processes to speed it up. Applying immediate action to put changes in place right away is another idea we have been implementing. One thing that was in the book that I had
James Taylor
I'm not as enamored with Womack as my peers, but perhaps it's simply the example based writings that prop lean up. It always seems pseudoscience when giving anecdotes that purport to be whole solutions. But I do believe in lean and this is a catalog of approaches.
Very good book to understand the benefits and become a big fan of LEAN. Especially the case studies are very informative.
Troy Doughty
good concepts, hard to apply, a lot of words. It isn't about tools but they sure help to build your model.
I really enjoyed this book. It lays out the principles of lean in a very engaging way: chock full of examples and experiences with applying lean thinking. Not in the least formulaic, it took me through a progression of distinctions about how to think differently about process. The examples are almost all from material production processes, but I found it easy to apply the thinking to my own work with providers who have complex knowledge management environments (major projects, energy, public sec ...more
Very good intro to thinking about how to make any organization more efficient.
This book was much easier to digest than "The Machine that Changed the World." It lays out a basic history of Lean Manufacturing, and it does a great job of explaining the tools and culture behind Lean.

I read this book as its an important part of my work. I've worked in Lean for almost two years, and this is one of those books one just has to read, even if you already know the lingo, tools, and history.

I would recommend this one for anyone just getting started with Lean Manufacturing or who ar
Mills College Library
658 W87211 2003
Sam Huish
Very good original text on Lean. Much of this is covered by other texts now, but it is still an excellent foundation point. This covers the strategic aspects of Lean, but not so much the tactical (shop floor) level, which is actually very good for Lean outside of manufacturing. Discusses the importance of Lean leadership and change agents, but does not really cover the wider aspects of culture.

Listened to this as an audiobook.
Rafael Bandeira
The concepts are intrinsically interesting and they are laid out in a great order, but I find the topics weren't explored enough and that most of the examples were misleading and confusing due to their length. Most of it though might be a colateral effect from having it as audio book and thus not being able to experience it in the best way.

It is a great book to get your head started on Lean, and I strongly recommend it!
Charles Stahl
I read this book back in 2003 originally, and I'm currently re-reading it as a refresher. EVERYONE should read this book - it's the seminal book on Lean principles by Womack and Jones first published back in 1996. It's all about eliminating waste - that's the fundamental definition of Lean. These principles can be applied to all aspects and types of businesses for profound improvements - Game-Changing improvements.
Jack Vinson
Good overview and lots of similarities to TOC. And differences, such as intense focus on waste instead of optimizing the constraint.
A blog post and review of the book:
A blog post about the heavy use of Japanese terms:
Colleen Martin
Book was helpful and relevant to what we are focusing on - eliminating waste. However this entire book could have just been the first section where it summarized the main principles. So many boring and hard to read stories that had little to no point. At times it felt like I was having a root canal- or would have picked having it over reading the book.
I can't really rate this book because I had to read it for work. If you are into lean manufacturing, it is the book for you. I understand the concept and was interested in the outcomes of companies who have adopted lean practices. I can't see how lean thinking will help me at this time. Maybe in the future?
Olli Helttula
Eye-opening. This should be mandatory reading to any business student, engineer or manager. While the examples in the book are related to manufacturing, the concept of lean thinking applies to anyone and everything. If you can not draw any parallels to your line of work - try harder!
Best book on Lean methodologies I've read. Inspirational. A bit long though.
TQM Doctor
Womack and Jones refresh the basic lean concepts in the beginning of the book, which is the part I will refer to in the future. The remainder of the book expands on these concepts by illustrating them in myriad situation examples thus providing support for the ideas themselves.
Robert Bütof
There are books which are evolutionary (99%) and some that are revolutionary (1%) - this book falls definitely into the latter category. It changes your way of thinking and explains you why some of our rational concepts about the (business) world are simply wrong.
I'm interested in learning more about lean manufacturing and what it might look like for software, but dear god it's like poking your nose into a church. Icons, doctrine, jargon, and wholesome eager people with too-wide smiles trying to show you the path to salvation.
Feb 27, 2011 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Heather by: Matt Cahill
Mandatory reading from the boss. But not bad.
'Course, pretty much all his examples involve bringing in a major Japanese guru, or someone who already went through a lean transition elsewhere with a major Japanese guru. Not a uniformly available option.
Tyson Titensor
I wanted more actionable recommendations. Feels a bit dated and very targeted to large shops. The big picture ideas were helpful, but like so many business books I probably could have gotten the point by reading the wikipedia page.
Miranda Diaz
I'd call it at 2.5. Some very good principles but highly technical throughout most of it and hard to read if not from a manufacturing environment. While the general ideas are really good, a lot of it gets lost in the details.
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“Converting a classic batch-and-queue production system to continuous flow with effective pull by the customer will double labor productivity all the way through the system (for direct, managerial, and technical workers, from raw materials to delivered product) while cutting production throughput times by 90 percent and reducing inventories in the system by 90 percent as well.” 1 likes
“We labeled this new way lean production because it does more and more with less and less.” 0 likes
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