The Lean Anthology: A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Lean Anthology

A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement, 1st Edition

By Rebecca Goldberg, Elliott N. Weiss

Productivity Press

248 pages | 89 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781482246797
pub: 2014-11-03
Hardback: 9781138438187
pub: 2017-07-27
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429256578
pub: 2017-07-27
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The Lean Anthology: A Practical Primer in Continual Improvement presents operations management case studies that illustrate a Lean process improvement journey. Ideal for non-engineers, adult learners, and corporate or business education settings, this book can help you and your organization understand and apply Lean practices as part of a plan for saving money, generating revenues, or freeing up resources—particularly in settings not traditionally associated with Lean.

The stories are easy to understand, simple accounts of everyday people negotiating life. The characters observe and integrate the principles of Lean into their personal and professional lives. Each Lean case study will help you understand and apply a different approach to the "relentless pursuit of the strategic elimination of waste."

The stories are organized into a framework for implementing a Lean transformation called The Five Cs: Customer, Capability, Control, Coordination, and Context/Culture. These are the five stages of strategic operations design and improvement. The Five Cs framework is a new approach to understanding a Lean journey that you can apply in many settings. The Five Cs framework can help you become more effective in both your personal and professional lives.

The book includes explanations with each case study, as well as brain teasers suitable for team discussion. These tools supply readers—even those without an operations management background—with an intuitive understanding of how to create value by eliminating waste.


This is a truly creative and engaging book. Like Goldratt’s The Goal, this book teaches the principles and concepts that form the basis for effective management of operations through the medium of stories. Learning is fun and painless and yet the lessons are deep.

Morris Cohen, Panasonic Professor of Manufacturing & Logistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

What a great book—so inviting, interesting, and creative. Great practical Lean insights from a non-manufacturing point of view.

—Arthur V. Hill, Associate Dean for MBA Programs and Professor of Supply Chain and Operations, University of Minnesota

Goldberg and Weiss take key business concepts and make them accessible for anyone committed to self-improvement. Their approach is simple and effective…and reminds me how much more I can do to apply Lean thinking both in and out of the office for real results!

Kevin Klau,Senior Vice President, Business Units, Hach Company

The Lean Anthologyis full of rich nuggets of gold that can be applied to both personal and professional life. Rebecca Goldberg and Elliott Weiss combine storytelling and teaching through short vignettes that will revolutionize the reader’s thinking and lead to lasting business results bolstering your company’s competitive advantage. This pragmatic approach is certain to transform you, your team, and those around you.

Monica Barker,Director Strategic Marketing North America, AREVA, Inc.

Even experienced practitioners can use The Lean Anthology to see additional applications for Lean tools. This book is comprehensive, enlightening, refreshing, and fun to read—which allows the reader to easily follow the pragmatic presentation of each Lean concept and practice.

Frederick S. Buchman, Co-Author ofBalanced Scorecard Strategies for Dummies

Must-reading for anyone with responsibility for or interest in any form of operations. Few managers understand and embrace the importance of continuous improvement. The challenge is to learn how to do it… this is the need this book fulfills.

Wallace Stettinius, author of Principles of General Management, The Art and Science of Getting Results Across Organizational Boundaries, and How to Plan and Execute Strategy: 24 Steps to Implement Any Corporate Strategy Successfully

Table of Contents



Defining the Customer Value Proposition

Theron Hunter’s Coffee Shop

The Value Proposition of the Coffee Shop

Value Proposition

Order-Winning Criteria

Make to Order versus Make to Stock

Voice of the Customer

Competing on Capabilities

Operating System Strategic Design

Managing Variability

Lunch with Guinevere

Managing Variability in Lunch Orders at the Walden-Aster

Accommodating Variability in Demand



Lead Time


Understanding Little’s Law

Dylan and Amelia Have a Cuppa

Moving Customers through a Pipeline

Little’s Law

Pipeline Management

Cash Conversion Cycle

Achieving Single-Piece Flow

Belinda, Bags, and Batches

Batch Sizes at the Grocery Store

Single-Piece Flow

The Social Contract and Perceptions of Fairness

Standard Work and Variability

SMED (Setup Time Reduction)


Managing Constrained Resources

Donna Johnson and the Bottlenecks

Managing the Limited Resources of Time, Capacity, and Money


Theory of Constraints


Identifying Non–Value-Added Activities

Todd’s Balancing Act

Using Lean Techniques to Improve Daily Activities and Achieve a Goal

Value-Stream Mapping

Current- and Future-State Analysis

Identifying and Removing Waste

Top-Line Metrics

Standard Work

Continuous Improvement and Kaizen

Mapping the Value Stream

Rebecca’s Morning Routine

Using Critical Path and Value-Stream Mapping to Establish Standard Work at Home

Critical Path

Value-Stream Map (VSM)


Establishing Standard Work

Erika, In through the Out Door

Standardizing Work to Reduce Cycle Time in the Kitchen and Entryway



Identifying and Removing Muda

Implementing the 5S System

David and the Case of the Hoarded House

Creating Time and Functionality with 5S


Standard Work



Using Process Behavior Charts

Tracy Scott Manages His Blood Sugar

Health Management through Process Behavior Charts

XmR Charts

Special and Assignable Causes

Reducing Variation

Continuous Improvement

Designing Experiments

Bob’s A-Maize-ing Popcorn

Using Experiments to Create the Best Popcorn

Experimental Design

Six Sigma

Designing a Robust Process

Accuracy versus Precision

Defining and Limiting Variables

Maintaining Reliable Equipment

Missy’s Car Maintenance

Improving Automobile Performance through Total Productive Maintenance

Predictive, Preventive, and Reactive Maintenance

Supplier Relationships


Designing a Supply Chain

Brian and Tonya’s Lunch Dilemma

Managing the Supply Chain for a Home-Cooked Lunch

The Reorder Point System

Periodic Review Systems

Determining Lot Size

Peter Goes Shopping

Determining the Optimal Lot Size for Household Supplies

Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)

Reorder Points

Quantity Discounts

Visual Management

Order Quantities and Safety Stock

Brad and Gina and Baby Make Three

The Impact of Cost Estimates on Purchasing Decisions

Economic Order Quantity (EOQ)

Setup Cost

Holding Cost

Safety Stock

Cycle Stock

Reorder Points (ROP)

Inventory Management Policies


Enabling Rational Decision Making

Zeke’s Tree

Decision Analysis for Homework Success: Empowering Homework Completion Using Decision Trees

Decision Analysis

Decision Trees

The Socratic Method

The Change Effectiveness Equation

Analyzing Root Causes

Jackson and Wyatt Learn to Share

Building Family Consensus through Root Cause Analysis

Andon Cords

Root Cause Analysis

Employee Teamwork as Part of Continuous Process Improvement

Putting It All Together

Chloe Manages the Family Business

Leading Strategic Change in a Family Setting

Change Management

Employee Development

Employee Buy-In

Designing a Robust Process



About the Authors

Rebecca Goldberg is a strategy and operations consultant with more than a decade of experience. She has extensively published articles and case studies in the Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business & Economy, and in the University of Virginia and Columbia University case collections. She writes in the areas of strategy, operations, and technology life cycles, as well as in negotiation, team dynamics, and collaboration. She has consulted with significant global clients in a variety of industries, including health care delivery, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, integrated technology solutions, professional services, insurance, and the military. She holds an MBA from the Darden School of Business; a BA from Tufts University, magna cum laude with highest thesis honors; and a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her two sons. Please visit for more information.

Elliott N. Weiss is the Oliver Wight Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Weiss teaches in the operations area and is the author of numerous articles in the areas of production management and operations research; he has extensive consulting experience, for both manufacturing and service companies, in the areas of production scheduling, workflow management, logistics, total productive maintenance, and Lean implementation. He is the author of over 175 cases and technical notes in the area of operations management.

Before coming to Darden in 1987, Weiss was on the faculty of the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. He has held visiting appointments at the Graduate School of Management at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is married with four children and one grandchild.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Manufacturing Industries
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture