Lean Execution: The Basic Implementation Guide for Maximizing Process Performance

Clifford Fiore, Productivity Press, 2016, 153 pp., $39.95 (book).

Fiore has written an easy-to-understand book that is a valuable resource for project managers challenged to maximize process performance. The book is practical and logically organized into three sections. First, the reader will learn about lean basics. Secondly, a project manager is introduced to baseline, product analysis, machine analysis and operational analysis assessments. Thirdly, with lean basics and assessments understood, the project leader can use the improvement section of the book to change processes and improve them.

This book should be read by executives, managers and leaders who are challenged to make things better and increase profits by eliminating all forms of waste. Following the guidance in this book readers will increase profits, and improve customer service, delivery performance and quality. This book makes it clear that the goals must be to increase quality and efficiency. As a result the cost of production will decrease, netting a maximum profit from the new operating system.

It is understood that maximization leads to the best possible result under a given set of circumstances. The process is defined as the sequential action steps with defined starting and ending points. Profit will be the bottom line, money banked or profit made which is the expectation of every business. There are worksheets, examples and calculations that enforce key concepts. The tools and methods used are easy to understand and apply.

To maximize process performance for profit, readers will learn that it is critical to know your processes and how they flow. It is also important to know the key levers in your process, how they influence each other and can impact the end result.

Using Fiore’s Lean Execution leaders will learn to improve and manage these levers for the maximum process outcome with sustainable effectiveness and efficiency. This book is well-written by a lean expert. It is easy to read, and I highly recommend it.

John J. Lanczycki
West Springfield, MA

Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man Who Invented the Toyota Production System

Takehiko Harada (Brad Schmidt, translator), McGraw-Hill Education, 2015, 176 pp., $35 (book).

Author Harada presents a summary of the key management principles and mechanics of the Toyota Production System (TPS) that he learned while working more than 40 years with Taiichi Ohno. The story begins in 1945, amidst the rubble and devastation of immediate post-WWII Japan, when Ohno was promoted to manager of Toyota Motors’ machine plant and began his long tenure that ultimately established him as one of the world’s premier lean principals.

Previously published in Japanese, this is the first English translation marketed internationally. Harada summarizes Ohno’s peerless and now famous motivating insights that help maintain commitment to establishing a lean culture.

Ohno’s tools and techniques for implementing the TPS in an organization are revealed, and Harada focuses on helping businesses learn how to reap the rewards of the TPS that Toyota leaders dedicated their lives to creating and maintaining.

The material covers 15 of Ohno’s principle-based sayings, the primary role and responsibilities of top management, the manager function to growing and empowering employees, and building respect throughout an organization.

While Ohno’s lofty principles may be difficult to comprehend at first glance, author Harada strives to help readers make the long-term commitment to Ohno’s philosophy of giving purpose to work, increasing joy in the workplace and allowing employees to work to their full potential.

Harada explains how following Ohno’s firm, no-compromise commitment will enhance the growing value of an organization and strengthen the position of the business in today’s competitive environment. The author's work is highly recommended for any organizational leader interested in learning the true meaning of committing to the TPS.

Dale Farris
Groves, TX

Lean for the Long Term: Sustainment Is a Myth, Transformation Is Reality

William H. Baker, Jr. and Kenneth Rolfes, Productivity Press, 2015, 226 pp., $44.95 (book).

Many organizations do not reach the full potential of their lean implementation. Some reasons are that top management is not committed, the improvement work is only focusing on manufacturing processes and the overuse of particular lean tools. This book helps you create a lean management system (LMS). It will help determine which success in the long run can be reached by consistently using the lean principles and activities throughout the organization.

According to the authors, an LMS should consist of five key elements. These elements are discussed with the aim to build a culture of constant transformation:

  1. Clarity of purpose: All employees must truly understand their job related to the mission, vision and strategy.
  2. Standard work: The standard has to be followed until a better method is found and becomes the new standard.
  3. Transparency: An organization that encourages open access to information, participation and decision-making.
  4. Accountability: Everyone has to be committed to eliminating activities that do not add value.
  5. Innovation: To deliver high customer value, it is important to understand customers and create new products and services.

The best parts of the book focus on management commitment and seeing lean as part of the business model, as well as the examples from organizations which have adopted an LMS.

The book leaves the discussion about the lean concept and lean tools to others, instead focusing on making lean matter. Because there are several views of what lean means and should include, readers should supplement with other lean books as well.

Success with lean depends on top managers who can talk the language, understand the impact lean makes, and have the ability to integrate lean in the organization’s business model. This book offers great support, and I recommend it to managers at all levels, especially ones at the top.

Bengt Klefsjö

Principles and Practices of Business Continuity: Tools and Techniques

Jim Burtles, Rothstein Publishing, 2016, 464 pp., $100 (second edition, book).

This book is a must have for any professional in an operations role or small business owner. Burtles creates an excellent guide on how to keep your business or organization running if you ever encounter one of the six physical or technical disruptors.

This book provides a detailed and logical step-by-step process on how to create your business continuity plan. It is a guide on managing the risks and prioritizing what actions to take when your organization or business encounters a disruptor. It helps to get you back to business as usual.

The book also includes downloadable models, plans, forms and templates to help get started on developing the plan. These principles and tools will provide long-term resilience for an organization, and the book includes a case study that demonstrates how they have worked.

Each chapter is concluded with additional reading resources, self-examination questions and food for thought sections to ensure that the main points are understood and that you will be able to create the right plan to keep your organization running.

Conor Leahy
San Diego

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