Book on Lean and IT Wins Shingo Prize

At best, lean and IT often maintain a kind of peaceful co-existence, but not really a warm relationship.

Lean processes are typically supported by visual controls and without a lot of computer technology, thank you very much. In fact, IT can sometimes get in the way of lean if not used properly.

But IT is also essential to business, so finding common ground between technology and process improvement is an important, if difficult, task.

That is why it is particularly gratifying that one of this year’s Shingo Research Prizes has been awarded to Easier, Simpler Faster: Systems Strategy for Lean IT, by Jean Cunningham and Duane Jones.

The Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence is perhaps most well-known for its business prizes, which are given each year to factories that have demonstrated the value of using lean/world-class manufacturing practices to attain world-class status.

But there is also a category of research prizes, which recognizes and promotes research and writing regarding new knowledge and understanding of manufacturing consistent with the philosophy of the business prize.

Easier, Simpler, Faster certainly fits that definition. When the book was published a year ago, it was one of a very small number of publications that focus on the relationship between lean and IT, and perhaps the only one that laid out what Jamie Flinchbaugh, co-author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean, called “a pragmatic set of guidelines” for enabling IT support of lean.

The book features a case study of an actual lean implementation involving an IT system of a mid-sized manufacturer.

This book joins a long list of other Productivity Press books that, over the years, have won Shingo research prizes. We are delighted by this announcement, and we congratulate the authors.

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