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Recommended books for learning about lean manufacturing

Let's say I want to learn how to implement lean manufacturing. Can one learn anything practical about lean from reading a book?

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There are a lot of good lean manufacturing books to read when getting started. Here are my recommendations:
  1. Lean Thinking by Womack & Jones
  2. Lean Production Simplified by Pascal Dennis
  3. Gemba Kaizen by Masaaki Imai

However, the best approach to learn lean manufacturing is to find a good coach to guide you through your journey. A lean coach will effectively teach you lean principles by providing information, strategies and examples, demonstrating lean techniques and then observing your application of lean and providing feedback.

Lean is indeed a journey. Most manufacturing plants require two to three years to become average performers in lean principles. Going from average to excellent will depend on how well your operation embraces lean thinking and how well you handle the lean manufacturing deployment.

This was first published in July 2009

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