The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean

Jamie Flinchbaugh and Andy Carlino, So-ciety of Manufacturing Engineers, 2005, 216 pp., $30 (book).

Authors Flinchbaugh and Carlino are experienced lean leaders who have gone through multiple lean transformations. Their book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Lean: Lessons From the Road, is a good outline of the basics of change through lean transformation. The first five chapters focus on tools, tactics and the roadmap of cultural changes required for a successful transformation. Other chapters offer insight into the supporting processes of lean accounting, material management and service organizations.

Chapter nine summarizes personal efforts of individuals, and chapter 10 covers interviews with five lean leaders. One of the book’s unique ap-proaches is that each chapter has a structure of five key points highlighting best practices, lessons learned and specific elements of lean change.

The authors emphatically demonstrate that lean is not about tools; lean is about systems and lean thinking is at its core. Lean should be thought of as a never ending journey broken into five phases and taking two to four years to create significant change. Lean thinking involves all business processes. The book’s checklist approach will serve readers well and help set realistic resources and expectations.

This book can provide a guide and roadmap for anyone who would like to embark on a lean transformation or is deeply involved in the change process. Company leaders, middle managers and entry level employees can benefit from the lessons learned and common pitfalls presented. The book emphasizes that effective leadership is indispensable.

The caution is that leadership must model the new expected behaviors and become involved in day-to-day improvements. Management can no longer sit back and tell others to change.

Bill Baker
Speed to Excellence
Allen, TX

Creating Lean Corporations

Jeffrey Morgan, Productivity Press, 2005, 276 pp., $35 (book).

Creating Lean Corporations: Re-engineering From the Bottom Up To Eliminate Waste offers a new approach to implementing lean in an organization. Morgan’s method does not use the traditional top down approach in which a small group of people or one person defines the business process without understanding it enough to sequence the tasks correctly. Morgan proposes a bottom up method allowing the people who are most familiar with the business processes to make the changes.

The book presents three main concepts. The first relates to hierarchies used to manage large organizations with complex systems and processes. The second concept uses process models to define an organization’s business processes. Finally, the third concept discusses the bottom up approach for reengineering business process.

Morgan says these concepts allow large, complex business processes to be defined and modified more efficiently. The benefit of this approach is process management can be implemented hierarchically, allowing management to focus on the proper level of detail matching and responsibility within the organization.

Morgan includes two additional disciplines in his discussion of implementing lean. Computer programming can be used as a model for creating and managing complex systems using object oriented programming. Engi-neering structural analysis uses the methodology of breaking large systems into smaller, more manageable subsystems.

This book is a fresh, nontraditional approach to using lean, borrowing techniques from other fields. I would recommend it to any organization starting to implement lean or one that needs to rejuvenate its current lean system.

Eric Furness
Astronautics Corp. of America
Milwaukee, WI

Business Performance Through Lean Six Sigma

James T. Schutta, ASQ Quality Press, 2005, 336 pp., $42 member, $70 list (book).

Business Performance Through Lean Six Sigma: Linking the Know-ledge Worker, the Twelve Pillars and Baldrige develops concepts that support the Six Sigma improvement process and ties them to the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) criteria and lean. The book then covers areas that should be considered during the implementation of Six Sigma. Schutta lifts the eyes from the details and presents Six Sigma in a more holistic light.

Many books fail to address the real need to develop a strategic planning process based on the market and customer information. Schutta solves this by relating Six Sigma to the MBNQA criteria. The book’s structure rests on 12 pillars ranging from market knowledge through leadership commitment and planning, training, process focus and measurements to financial returns. Questions and suggestions for additional reading are included in each chapter. The book points out that if the reader misses one pillar, the process may not be as effective in reducing costs.

Unfortunately this book is too normative and does not focus on understanding Six Sigma. It doesn’t give a clear explanation of what Six Sigma is and means or what separates lean Six Sigma from Six Sigma.

Bengt Klefsjö
Luleå University of Technology
Luleå, Sweden

Value-Driven Channel Strategy

R. Eric Reidenbach and Reginald W. Goeke, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 192 pp., $33 member, $55 list (book).

Value-Driven Channel Strategy: Extending the Lean Approach explores the premise that extending the concept of lean thinking to the distribution system is necessary for organizations adopting a customer value orientation. The book centers on the idea that value in the production process does not automatically translate into value at the point of consumption.

Reidenbach and Goeke primarily concentrate on the creation of value through the distribution system. An organization’s ability to use lean techniques to eliminate nonvalue adding costs as well as enhance its competitive value is the full realization of the power of lean thinking.

This book starts by covering traditional approaches to lean thinking and how they often fall short of delivering full value to customers. The definition of customer value and the exploration of strategic tools for value evaluation are addressed. Basic value propositions are introduced, centered on the creation of value through the manufacturing process and the delivery of value through the distribution system.

The heart of the book concentrates on the determination of value drivers and the application of strategic tools to the value stream and becoming lean. The final chapter on implementation wraps up the lean value stream strategy.

I found the book well written and organized. The authors’ numerous examples with the development of key tools and models in an appendix format make it useful. The principles outlined apply equally to manufacturing and service industries.

The target audience for this book is managers in customer relationship management and marketing, although any manager interested in helping achieve a competitive advantage through customer value will find this book beneficial addition to the strategic tool chest.

Bryan Ruggles
Boeing Commercial Aircraft
Seattle, WA

Training Within Industry

Donald A. Dinero, Productivity Press, 2005, 316 pp., $40 (book and CD-ROM).

Some of the best new ideas and concepts are not really so new at all. Dinero’s book, Training Within Industry: The Foundation of Lean, is a good example of this. Dinero introduces the training within industry (TWI) methods as support for lean manufacturing. What is not well known is this methodology was actually developed and utilized in the United States during World War II and, after falling out of U.S. favor, has had great success in companies like Toyota.

This book begins with a general overview of the history and use of TWI in the United States. It then introduces the four modules for success: job instructions, job methods, job relations and program development. Subsequent chapters take each module and explain how to develop the TWI process. Dinero uses specific companies and organizations from manufacturing and service industries as examples.

While no book can provide complete detail how to implement the TWI process in your own company, the organizational examples give enough detail to assist the reader in using TWI methods. The accompanying CD-ROM contains TWI bulletins issued by the United States in the 1940s.

This book offers some excellent methods and examples that would enhance any lean program, but it was tough to get through. The average quality manager or production manager may not have the time to really delve into this book and implement its practices. Additionally, implementation does not seem to take into account the average U.S. workers’ perceptions of job security and a company’s loyalty to an employee, both of which impact any lean or TWI program.

Linda Cubalchini-Travis
Simi Valley, CA


  • The Magic of Self-Directed Work Teams: A Case Study in Courage and Culture Change, Paul C. Palmes, ASQ Quality Press, 2006, 128 pp., $27 member, $45 list (book).
  • Improving Your Project Management Skills, Larry Richman, Amacom, 2006, 206 pp., $15 (book).
  • Design for Six Sigma Statistics: 59 Tools for Diagnosing and Solving Problems in DFSS Initiatives, Andrew Sleeper, McGraw-Hill, 2005, 854 pp., $89.95 (book).

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