1st Edition

Becoming Lean Inside Stories of U.S. Manufacturers

By Jeffrey K. Liker Copyright 1997
    554 Pages
    by Productivity Press

    What is Lean?
    Pure and simple, lean is reducing the time from customer order to manufacturing by eliminating non-value-added waste in the production stream. The ideal of a lean system is one-piece flow, because a lean manufacturer is continuously improving.

    Most other books on lean management focus on technical methods and offer a picture of how a lean system should look like. Other books provide snapshots of companies before and after lean was implemented.

    This is the first book to provide technical descriptions of successful solutions and performance improvements. It's also the first book to go beyond snapshots and includes powerful first-hand accounts of the complete process of change; its impact on the entire organization; and the rewards and benefits of becoming lean.

    At the heart of Becoming Lean are the stories of American manufacturers that have successfully implemented lean methods. The writers offer personalized accounts of their organization's lean transformation. You have a unique opportunity to go inside the implementation process and see what worked, what didn't, and why.

    1. Introduction: Bringing Lean Back to the U.S.A.
    2. Bringing the Toyota Production System to the United States: A Personal Perspective
    3. Japanese Education and Its Role in Kaizen
    4. Lean Manufacturing Practices at Small and Medium Sized U.S. Parts Suppliers: Does it Work?
    5. Transforming a Plant to Lean in a Large, Traditional Company: Delphi Saginaw Steering Systems, GM
    6. Making Leather Leaner: The Garden State Tanning Story
    7. Learning About Lean Systems at Freundenberg-NOK: Where Continuous Improvement Is a Way of Life
    8. The Donnelly Production System: Lean at Grand Haven
    9. Implementing Lean Manufacturing at Gelman Sciences,Inc.
    10. Cedar Works: Making the Transition to Lean
    11. Operational Excellence: A Manufacturing Metamorphosis at Western Geophysical Exploration Products
    12. The Success and Failures of Implementing Continuous Improvement Programs: Cases of Seven Automotive Parts Suppliers
    13. Lean Production-The Challenge of Multidimensional Change
    14. Crossroads: Which Way Will You Turn on the Road to Lean?
    15. Conclusion: What We Have Learned About Becoming Lean


    Jeffrey K. Liker

    "Becoming Lean implies a journey. We will reach our destination when we apply the philosophies underlying lean to develop our own lean system. There's no reason not to start trying. There are no experts, just people with more experience. The longer we wait, the more experience our competitors will have when we start."

    John Y. Shook, Director, Director, Japan Technology Management Program, U of Michigan 06/01/04

    "Becoming Lean fills an urgent need by describing in great detail the initial steps taken by a number of pioneering American firms in a range of industries to introduce lean thinking. Change agents actually leading the effort describe precisely what worked and what didn't."

    James Womack, Author of The Machine that Changed the World 06/01/04