Lean Thinking was launched in the fall of 1996, just in time for the recession of 1997. It told the story of how American, European, and Japanese firms applied a simple set of principles called 'lean thinking' to survive the recession of 1991 and grow steadily in sales and profits through 1996. Even though the recession of 1997 never happened, companies were starving for information on how to make themselves leaner and more efficient.
Now we are dealing with the recession of 2001 and the financial meltdown of 2002. So what happened to the exemplar firms profiled in Lean Thinking? In the new fully revised edition of this bestselling book those pioneering lean thinkers are brought up to date. Authors James Womack and Daniel Jones offer new guidelines for lean thinking firms and bring their groundbreaking practices to a brand new generation of companies that are looking to stay one step ahead of the competition.
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North America, Europe and Japan to persuade organizations, managers, employers and investors that mass production was out of date and should be chucked for something better.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.