Lean Production Simplified: A Plain-Language Guide to the World's Most Powerful Production System, 3rd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Lean Production Simplified

A Plain-Language Guide to the World's Most Powerful Production System, 3rd Edition

By Pascal Dennis

Productivity Press

223 pages | 3 Color Illus. | 66 B/W Illus.

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Following in the tradition of its Shingo Prize-winning predecessors, Lean Production Simplified, Third Edition gives a clear overview of the structure and tools of the Lean production system. Written for the practitioner by a practitioner, it delivers a comprehensive insider's view of Lean management.

The author helps readers grasp the system as a whole, as well as the factors that animate it, by organizing the book around an image of a house of Lean production. Illustrating the eight kinds of waste, this updated edition of a bestseller:

  • Describes the craft and mass production systems that preceded Lean production—including the contributions of Frederick Winslow Taylor and Henry Ford
  • Explains the concepts of visual management, Five S, and Total Productive Maintenance
  • Addresses just-in-time delivery of parts and products
  • Examines the jidoka principle
  • Covers the nervous system of Lean management, hoshin planning
  • Illustrates the culture of Lean management

This edition deepens and extends the previous edition with case studies on Lean outside the factory—in settings such as health care, IT, finance, design, engineering, and beyond. The case studies are based on personal experience of actual work in organizations generating real results.

Lean Production Simplified, Third Edition covers each of the components of Lean within the context of the Lean production system. The author's straightforward common sense approach makes this book an easily accessible, on-the-floor resource for every team member.

Watch Shingo Prize-winning author Pascal Dennis discuss Lean Production Simplified, Third Edition https://youtu.be/YD030vOb8KM


"There is a need for a book exactly like this, and Pascal has the experience, knowledge, and passion to write it. Pascal Dennis is one of many Westerners who, during the past 20 years, have gained firsthand experience with ‘Lean production’ or the Toyota Production System (TPS). At Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, one of Toyota’s early and successful efforts to transplant TPS outside the confines of Toyota City in Japan, Pascal received personalized mentoring from his trainer from Toyota City about each of the processes, systems, and philosophies explained in this book."

—John Shook, Senior Advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute; President, TWI Network, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Praise for the Shingo Prize-Winning Second Edition:

"Lean Production Simplified is both enlightening and informative for all levels of ‘Lean learners.’ It is written from a very human perspective. Many prior publications focus on the ‘Lean bag of tools’ or the softer cultural aspects of Lean. Dennis' contribution is a well integrated blend of both giving the reader not only a systemic understanding of Lean, but also the clear skill development required for leadership at all levels. Wherever you are on your journey to Lean, Lean Production Simplified will provide further knowledge and insight to help achieve the next level on the eternal path to perfection."

—Anne Stevens, VP, North America Vehicle Operations, Ford Motor Company

"This book is just too important! In this age of global competition threatening to annihilate all but the very Leanest, Pascal Dennis' masterwork, Lean Production Simplified: A Plain-Language Guide to the World's Most Powerful Production System, is a must-read. Midway through my career, after working at five large North American manufacturing companies, it's absolutely crystal clear that the three which ‘died’ would have survived if only they'd known of and successfully implemented The Toyota Production System."

—Michael A. J. Davis, Executive VP, Waterville TG, Inc.

"Lean Production Simplified goes beyond being a ‘primer’ for the Toyota Production System - it is ‘Lean thinking’ at its best, revealed and explained. Pascal Dennis has drawn from his own experience at Toyota to help the reader understand the meaning behind their language of success, with the why's and how's explained clearly with illustrations that include the very forms used to collect and organize data. Be prepared to have your continuous improvement/people skills honed to a higher level. Whether you're a CEO, president, vice president, manager, supervisor, leader, engineer, HR specialist, employee, or a private owner, Lean Production Simplified is not a book you will read once. It's a book you will read once and then use as a reference book to read and re-read again and again, as its content is absorbed into your area of influence."

Bob Schroer, Lean Change Agent, Lexington, Ohio

Table of Contents

The Birth of Lean

Craft Production

Mass Production

Ford System

Other Developments

Growing Dysfunction

Worker Alienation




Birth of Lean Production

Historic Bargain

A Novel Concept

A Virtue of Necessity

Completing the Lean Revolution at Toyota




Study Questions

Lean Production System

Why Lean Production?

New Economics

Systems and Systems Thinking

The "Thinking Way"

Basic Image of Lean Production

Customer Focus










A Word of Caution





Study Questions


Lean System Standards

Visual Management

5S System


S2—Set in Order

S3—Shine (and Inspect)



Total Productive Maintenance

Key Measures

Six Big Losses

The Machine Loss Pyramid

Small-Group Activity



Study Questions

Standardized Work

Methods Engineering versus Lean Thinking

What Do We Have to Manage?

Maximize Utilization of Machines or People?

Labor Density

Why Standardized Work?

Prerequisites for Standardized Work

Elements of Standardized Work

Takt Time

Takt Time and Cycle Time

Work Sequence

In-Process Stock

Charts Used to Define Standardized Work

Production Capacity Chart

Manpower Reduction

Overall Efficiency Versus Individual Efficiency

Standardized Work and Kaizen

Guidelines for Economy of Motion

Guidelines for Layout and Equipment

Guidelines for Tools and Jigs

Common Layouts


Connected Islands

Connected Islands with Full-Work Control




Study Questions

Just-in-Time Production

Why JIT?

Basic Principles of JIT

Continuous Flow


The JIT System


Kanban Metaphors

Pacemaker Process

The Store

Six Kanban Rules

Expanded Role of Conveyance

How Frequently Should We Provide Production Orders?

Quick Adjustment to Demand Changes or Other Sources of Instability

Better Sense of Takt Time

Fewer Peaks and Valleys

Abnormality Control

Two Kinds of Conveyance

Production Leveling

Responding to Changes in Customer Demand

Heijunka Box

Three Types of Pull Systems

Type A Pull System

Type B Pull System

Type C Pull System

Value Stream Mapping



Study Questions


Development of the Jidoka Concept

Why Jidoka?

How to Improve Human Reliability


Common Errors

Inspection Systems and Zone Control

Judgment Inspections—Discovering Defects

Informative Inspections—Reducing Defects

Source Inspections—Preventing Defects

Vertical Source Inspections

Horizontal Source Inspections

Using Poka-Yokes

Two Types of Action

Three Paths to Poka-Yoke

Poka-Yoke Detection Methods

Implementing Jidoka

Annual Jidoka Strategy and Goals

Future Directions



Study Questions


Why Involvement?

Terrible Waste of Humanity

Activities Supporting Involvement

Goal of Involvement

Kaizen Circle Activity

Structure of KCA

KCA Training

KCA Administration

KCA Promotion

Role of the Manager

Practical Kaizen Training

Key Factors for PKT Success


Grasping the Situation

Problem Solving

Role of the Supervisor

Suggestion Programs

Hassle-Free Process and Clear Rules

Tangible Suggestions

Intangible Suggestions

Quick Decision-Making and Feedback



Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation

How to Motivate Suggestions

Quantity First—Then Quality

Annual Culture Hoshin



Study Questions

Hoshin Planning

What Is Planning?

Why Plan?

Problems with Planning

How Do We Create Flow?

Hoshin Planning

Focus of Hoshin Planning

Alignment and Flexibility

Hoshin Planning System


Check Outcomes and Process

Strengthen People



The Control Department17 Concept

A3 Thinking

History of Report Writing

Common Report-Writing Problems

The Four Phases of Hoshin Planning

Hoshin Generation

Hoshin Deployment

Output of Hoshin Deployment

Hoshin Implementation

Hoshin Evaluation

Book of Knowledge



Study Questions

The Culture of Lean Production

What Is Lean Culture?


Grasping the Situation





Reflection—Breakfast of Champions

Warm Heart Principle


Standards and Abnormality Control

Visual Management




Lean Production as a Path

How Does Lean Culture Feel?


Final Comments


Study Questions

Appendix A: Glossary

Appendix B: Bibliography

About the Author

Pascal Dennis is President of Lean Pathways, an international coaching team. He is the author of four previous books on Lean management, all of which have won the prestigious Shingo Prize for outstanding research in the field of operational excellence. Pascal and his team have worked with major healthcare systems like Inova Health System, Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation, Health Sciences North and Salem Health, as well as Fortune 100 companies like Kimberly Clark and Lockheed Martin.

Pascal learned the Toyota business system in leadership positions at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, one of Toyota’s best plants, and has worked with leading senseis in North America and Japan.

Pascal lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

For more information please visit www.leansystems.org.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control