Which Lean Book is Right for My Boss?

It’s a common question: Is there something you can give someone to read that will turn on the light bulb above their head and make them say “Aha! So that’s what lean is all about!”?

            A version of that question appeared in a recent comment on the blog. BENJER writes:


            Senior management talks up lean thinking but after I've invested a lot of effort and convinced our union to create a production cell where people can move to where the work is at any time of the day, senior management (VP level) insists that the operation be separated into rigid boxes that don't allow people to work across the lines. I need to find some reference authority to try to persuade him that this is regressing. Any suggestions?


            Publishers always like being asked for suggestions on what to read. In this case, it seems the senior managers lack a fundamental understanding of what lean involves. So after consultation with our senior acquisitions editor, Mike Sinocchi, I suggest one of the classic lean texts such as Becoming Lean or Inside the Mind of Toyota.

            For a different approach, consider Lean Production Simplified. There’s a section in that book that discusses the most functional plan layouts.

            Of course, no book will be of value unless management is willing to read it. It’s the classic conundrum: Those who most need to learn are often those who are least willing to learn.

            One approach might be to focus with management on the waste in a silo-mentality layout, and the benefits to be achieved by eliminating that waste.

            Good luck.


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