MRO Magazine


Book list is a shortcut to learning about lean production methods

July 13, 2001 -- Responding to questions from manufacturing professionals, the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) has...

July 13, 2001 — Responding to questions from manufacturing professionals, the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI) has compiled a list of eight books containing the essential knowledge about lean production’s history and fundamental principles.

“Lean thinkers have often asked us what they should read to understand lean thinking and where it came from,” said Dr. James Womack, LEI president. He and LEI colleagues Dan Jones and John Shook “put our heads together and came up with the titles that we have learned the most from,” said Womack.

The goal of the project is to give interested manufacturing managers, engineers, and executives a shortcut to a complete education on lean production. Manufacturing professionals in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, defense, medical equipment, and high-tech might benefit from reading the books.

The books are divided into two sections. The “Roots of Lean” books describe the history of lean production. “Lean Classics” are books that first introduced people to the lean philosophy and methods.

The titles and their authors are:
* From the American System to Mass Production, David Hounshell
* Ford Methods and the Ford Shops, Horace Arnold and Fay Faurote
* The Toyota Production System, Taiichi Ohno
* The Evolution of a Manufacturing System at Toyota, Takahiro Fujimoto
* A Study of the Toyota Production System, Yashuhiro Monden
* The Toyota Production System, Shigeo Shingo
* Japanese Manufacturing Techniques, Richard Schonberger
* The New Manufacturing Challenge, Kiyoshi Suzaki

All books are available from the bookstore section on the LEI web site at Canadian buyers may wish to contact OCAPT Business Books in Welland, Ont., at 905-735-2967, or by sending an e-mail note to

LEI expects to add more titles and articles to the list over time. “But we will always keep the list short,” said Womack, “because the essence of lean thinking is doing, not contemplation in the library.”

The Lean Enterprise Institute is a U.S. non-profit corporation founded in August, 1997, to promote a set of ideas commonly known as lean thinking. It coordinates a global, non-profit education and research network dedicated to the advancement of lean principles.