Lean Today, Rich Tomorrow : Succeeding in Today's Globalization Chaos book cover
1st Edition

Lean Today, Rich Tomorrow
Succeeding in Today's Globalization Chaos

ISBN 9781482235647
Published September 24, 2014 by Productivity Press
219 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book is about an actual Lean transformation that took place in a 100-year-old North American manufacturer's factory. Lean Today, Rich Tomorrow: Succeeding in Today's Globalization Chaos tells the story of how an obsolete factory destined for closure was transformed into the most productive North American manufacturer in its field, but this shift didn't happen without its share of obstacles.

Despite the problems the company encountered, the implementation of the Lean/TPS with JIT and Kaizen absolutely ensured its survival while many companies in the field fell under the shadow of bankruptcy. The company eliminated the bad habits associated with its antiquated push system, including piecework, batch process, and rework, and transformed its factory into a JIT/Lean philosophy-driven plant with one-piece flow, U-shaped production lines, and productivity sharing.

Telling a tale of adventure, the book guides readers through the steps taken by the company to improve processes and results over a ten-year period. This success story will give managers the tools to succeed in rallying and training a workforce to achieve Lean goals through a substantive change in culture. The book keeps the use of theory to a minimum. However, to make it useful to both students and professionals, it explains the basic concepts of the Toyota system.

Presented in a compelling story format, Lean Today, Rich Tomorrow: Succeeding in Today's Globalization Chaos is a practical work, told the way it was experienced. It avoids complex formulas, algorithms, and grand theories and instead illustrates the process used by this Canadian enterprise and its employees to achieve their successful implementation without the help of consultants.

Table of Contents

Ten Years Later
June 1991

Setting the Challenge
July 1991
An Analysis of the Situation
Economic Context of the Shoe Industry in Canada
State of Our Factory
The Solution: Toyota’s Lean Production System and Kaizen
Where to Begin?
Our Way of Working

Rethinking the Factory’s Layout and Production Philosophy
August 1992
The Module: A Production Nerve Center
The Design and Setup of the Pilot Module
Choosing a U-Shaped Module
Traditional Organization and Manufacturing Methods
Experimenting with New Ways of Working
Comparison of the Results Obtained
Presenting an Expense Budget to Management
Chapt er 4 G etting the Employees Involved
October 1992
Worries and Resistance among the Employees
Guarantees and Commitments from the Company

New Layout and Training
November 1992
Planning and Implementing the New Layout
Tailored Training Programs
Human Relations and Communication
Technical Training
Directed Practice

Reviewing the Salary, Structure, and Bonus System

March 1993
A Complex Existing Situation
A Crucial Simplification
Seeking Consensus

Organizing the Work
June 1993
Individual Work versus Teamwork
Carefully Considered Team Composition
Developing Autonomy
A Factory without Inspectors: Is It Possible?
Putting It to the Test
Kickoff Problems and Friction
Health Problems
Tensions within the Teams
Frustrations about the Removal of Privileges
A Concession to Benefit Workplace Atmosphere

Overcoming the Obstacles
November 1993
A Thunderclap
Perfect Timing for a New Project
Preliminary Study to Pinpoint the Problems
Portrait of the Factory Population
First Investigation into Health Problems
Second Investigation into Problems
with Psychological Well-Being and Communication
Summary and a Concrete Plan of Action
The Facilitator: A Positive Agent for Change
From Supervisor to Coach: A Changing Position
The Foreman: Caught between a Rock and a Hard Place
Moving from Supervisor to Coach: A Difficult Transition
Choosing Supervisors Who Have What It Takes to Coach

Establishing a Gain-Sharing System to Stimulate Productivity
April 1994
A Bonus System that Gets in the Way of the Objective
Need for a Gain-Sharing Model
Sharing Plan Based on Productivity
An Employer/Employee Committee to Put the Plan into Action
After Two Years, a Mitigated Report on Shared Gains
Adjusting Our Aim
New Just-in-Time Training to Get Employees Involved
Spectacular but Fragile Results
Revision of the Productivity Gain-Sharing Plan
Seeking a New, More Equitable Gain-Sharing System
A Surprise from the Employees
Report that Inspires Vigilance

Carrying Out a First Assessment and Detecting Errors along the Way

January 1999
Length of the Learning Curve
Effect of Bottlenecks
Scope of the Information Technology (IT) Adjustments Required
Length of Time to Implement Hand-to-Hand

Putting Kaizen into Practice in the Factory

January 2002
Examples of Small Kaizen
Adding a Velcro® Strip on the Sewing Machines
Installation of a Scrap-Catching Bag
Designing Functional Packaging Tables
Design of a Heel Reinforcement Container
Creation of a Color Code for Bottom Injection and Transport
Example of a Medium Kaizen
Installation of a Box Lifting System
Example of a Big Kaizen
Automation of Strap Cutting and Gluing Tasks
Example of Everyday Kaizen

Tour of a Chinese Supplier: A Wake-Up Call

Early 1998
More than a Company: A City!
Workers in Residence
Realm of Muda
Quality, but at the Expense of Productivity
Difficult New Awareness
Unequal Struggle

End of an Era
Increasingly Fierce Global Competition
Factory that Is Productive, but Underused
Changing Fashion
Conflation of Circumstance
Inescapable Situation
Hard Decision
Painful Delay
Closure Announcement
Final Weeks
After Contrecoeur: Lean at Work

Winning Conditions for a Successful JIT and Kaizen Implementation Project
March 1993
Unconditional Commitment from Senior Management
Attitude of Honesty and Openness toward the Workers
Full Commitment from All Employees
Choosing Hand-to-Hand or Pull Production: Simply Inevitable
Aspiration to Become a World-Class Company

Toyota’s Lean Production System, Kaizen, and Related Concepts
Toyota Production System
Total Quality Management
Just in Time, Pull Production, One-Piece Flow, and Takt Time
Total Productive Maintenance, Overall Equipment Effectiveness, and Jidoka
The 5S
Elimination of Mudas
Visual Management
Suggestion Program
Rules for the Smooth Operation of the Gemba
Toyota Production System and Kaizen in Brief

Tour of World-Class Japanese Factories

Toyoda Iron Works
Yamaha Motors
NGK Insulators, Chita Factory
Togo Seisakusho
Taiho Kogyo
Toyota, Takaoka Factory

Myths and Realities of Japanese Industry Workers
Japanese Workers Are Very Disciplined and Respect
Authority Much More than Workers in Other Countries
Japanese Factories Offer Their Workers Lifelong Employment
In the Toyota System, Any Worker Can Halt the Production Chain
In Japan, Rejects Are Measured in Parts per Million Rather than by Percentage
Chapt er 18 Toyota’s Troubles
A Highly Publicized Accident
Mountain out of a Molehill
Lessons Learned
Rebuilding Trust
Chapt er 19 North American Production Returns to the Fold
Offshoring: A Win–Win Situation?
Offshoring Also Comes at a Price
The Pendulum Swings Back
Appendix: Bonus Plans and Productivity Gain-Sharing Plans
Scanlon Plan
Rucker Plan
Improshare Plan

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Joe Bichai has been recognized and looked upon as a leader in the world of Lean manufacturing. Throughout his career he enthusiastically shared his knowledge of Lean and continuous improvement philosophy. Committed to the success of domestic manufacturing, he has conducted numerous seminars and taught future grads how to be competitive in our global markets.

After graduating from the Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal as an industrial engineer, Bichai joined Electrolux as a young and eager engineer. He worked his way through the ranks and was promoted to I.E. Manager, later to Manufacturing engineering manager and to finally plant manager. In 1986, he decided to start his own company, JITech Manufacturing services, offering his customers, a one-stop shop for manufacturers looking for plastic molds as well as molded and assembled products.

In 1991, he seized the opportunity to partner up with Kamik (Genfoot Inc.), the leading Canadian footwear manufacturer. Since then, Bichai has been leading the manufacturing activities of their three North American factories.

In 1998, the CSIE (Canadian Society for Industrial Engineering) awarded him the Leadership award for promoting Canadian productivity.

In 2000, he was awarded "the most influential engineer of his decade" award by the Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal’s industrial engineering department.

For the past 30 years, Bichai has been a proud advocate of the Japanese manufacturing management techniques that led him in 2001 to join the Gemba Kaizen and Just-in-Time study tour at the Japan Kaizen Institute, where he perfected his continuous improvement knowledge learning from Imai Masaaki, founder of the Kaizen Institute.

In 2007, Bichai’s French version book Agir ou Périr was published by the Presses Internationales de Polytechnique and was selected as a finalist in the annual Quebec Better Business Book Grand Prix competition.