James P. Womack is the president and founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute (www.lean.org), a nonprofit education and research organization based in Brookline, Massachusetts. Daniel T. Jones is the chairman and founder of the Lean Enterprise Academy (www.leanuk.org), a nonprofit education and research organization based in the UK.
There's a missionary zeal to this book for corporate managers: it wants to convert companies the world over to the streamlined production process pioneered by Toyota after WWII. Womack and Jones chronicled Toyota's concept of lean production in The Machine That Changed the World, and embarked in 1990 on a tour of North America, Europe and Japan to persuade organizations, managers, employers and investors that mass production was out of date and should be chucked for something better. They formed a network of companies and individuals dedicated to lean production. Network members, whose stories form the basis of the book, gather annually to update procedures and refine theory. Showa Manufacturing, a Japanese maker of radiators and boilers, for instance, pulled itself out of an earnings slump by changing from mass-producing batches of standardized equipment to producing customized small lots. Heavily laden with details, this is for specialists who want to streamline. It makes few references to the larger, global economy. Author tour. (Sept.)
"Fortune" A new and coherent thesis about automotive
production...[the authors] back up their conclusions with unique
statistical measures that are authoritative, extremely timely, and
highly revealing. Think of this book as another step in the
decade-long process of getting the attention of recalcitrant mass
Philip Caldwell Chairman and CEO, Ford Motor Company, 1980-1985 Truly remarkable....The most comprehensive, instructive, mind-stretching and provocative analysis of any major industry I have ever known. Why pay others huge consulting fees? Just read this book.
Richard J. Schonberger Author of "World Class Manufacturing: The Next Decade" The manufacturing book of the nineties.
"Automotive News" This is a book of great understanding, and of hope. It shows how to create an industrial world in which workers share the challenges and satisfactions of the business. It's a world in which assemblers communicate with suppliers and dealers in a way that improves life for all of them. Read it.
Peter F. Drucker Author of "The Post-Capitalist Society""The Machine That Changed the World" is a very important book. I am impressed.
"Business Week" The best current book on the changes reshaping manufacturing, and the most readable, too...conveys a very human sense of managers constrained by limited resources yet trying to do better.
"Financial Times" A revealing and compellingly readable account of Japan's achievement in revolutionizing manufacturing....An eye-opener even for those who already knew Japan didn't do it all with robots.