Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book Review: "How to Implement Lean Manufacturing" by Lonnie Wilson

If you have read “LEAN THINKING” by James P Womack and Daniel T. Jones, you may have been left wondering what Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System was all about. It may have seemed mysterious and not well defined. Lonnie Wilson’s “HOW TO IMPLEMENT LEAN MANUFACTURING” is a guidebook to Lean Manufacturing that will take the mystery out of process for you. It is a practical HOW-TO guide that can be used by plant managers, executives, quality managers and production personnel to implement the Lean Systems within their facilities.

This book not only addresses the strategy on how to implement Lean Manufacturing but also addresses cultural change necessary for a successful transformation. In the end you have to sustain the gain and the book tells you what is necessary.

What makes this book standout from other Lean texts is that the book itself is written in a Lean style of writing. Lonnie uses “Points of Clarity” to highlight important concepts within the book. Additionally he uses hundreds of visual graphics and tables that draw the reader’s attention. Visual clues and organization is a key concept in Lean. I don’t think you can turn two or more pages without being grabbed by a new visual to help make a point in the book.

I was impressed with the level of practical detail. Need to calculate OEE or the proper KANBAN size? Does Value Stream Mapping have you confused? The book provides the formula’s necessary. It places these concepts in context to the big picture of efficiency, lead-time or cycle-time reduction. The book is filled with personal examples from Lonnie Wilson’s career leading transformation efforts. Case studies are also given to drive home and follow the complete process of a successful Lean project and some that are not so successful.

This is a book I would personally recommend to anyone getting ready to attend a Lean training workshop. Read this book first and you will be prepared for your class. As a university instructor, I like to tell my students, “The answer is in the book”. I think you will find many insightful answers about Lean in Lonnie Wilson’s “HOW TO IMPLEMENT LEAN MANUFACTURING”.
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