- Hardcover: 263 pages
- Publisher: Amacom Books (1 July 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 081441057X
- ISBN-13: 978-0814410578
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 590 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Going Lean Hardcover – 1 Jul 2008
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From the Back Cover
With excellent timing, considering recent events in the global economy, this book demonstrates how companies can use lean principles to help them steer through tough times. Using examples from successful companies that survived crises such as 9/11 and the resulting economic downturn, as well as the oil crisis of 1980s, Ruffa shows how the techniques those companies used can be employed to help weather a crisis."
--Houston Business Journal
“In GOING LEAN, Stephen A. Ruffa spotlights examples from the automotive, airline, and retail industries, offering potent lessons on how companies drive innovation, promote sustainability and create value in the face of uncertainty. The backbone of the book lies in the well-thumbed ideologies of the Toyota Production System.”
“Ruffa describes the concept of lean dynamics for use in improving business during uncertain times, which combines lean manufacturing with initiatives that use internal measures to deal with external conditions. He argues that efficient operations and innovation do not have to only occur in times of stability and uses examples from companies like Toyota, Southwest Airlines, and Wal-Mart for illustration. Ruffa is an aerospace engineer and researcher who originated the concept of lean dynamics.”
(Annotation ©2008 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Book News: http://booknews.com/ref_issues/ref_nov2008/amacom1.html
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Thumbs up for the style, precise and covering structure of thought and usage of analogies (which are both entertaining and hitting the bull-eye).
The only bit that takes it from 5 stars super-book is the length of the text. Not too many readers would be patient to go through. I understand that author's mission was to walk the reader through the whole argument and build the castle brick by brick. That is all fine, but sometimes the comments on how bad the actual environment is get repeated and obsolete.
You can slap the actual operational setting into the face at the start very hard with some bolder statements and then promise to answer why the slap was actually well deserved in the text.
And oh yes you can prove the slap with the text in this book!!!
In this time of changing business conditions "Lean Dynamics" can be used to survive, thrive and grow.
The industrial countryside is littered with companies that have started Lean programs just to find sustainability too elusive. This book answers the questions of dealing with lag, how to create a steady and predictable flow in a customer driven supply chain and how to apply the lean dynamic tool to measure sustainability in changing business climates.
By showing us the mistakes of some of the early industrial leaders Mr. Ruffa leads the reader through steps on how not to repeat them. Including the wisdom of Ducker and Deming with the successful systems of Wal-Mart, Southwest Airlines and Toyota we find things everyone can learn from past and present Lean Leaders.
This Book is a must read for all Industry and Government leaders in this turbulent time.
Going Lean succeeds in laying out a path to improvement that is as clear as it is compelling--getting past the confusing jargon so prevalent in other improvement regimens--to make reading and understanding these bold new concepts enjoyable.
Companies of all types should consider applying Lean Dynamics. It's a logical, systematic approach to tie together disparate tools employed by managers and workers who have become frustrated by a confusing mix of solutions that often don't seem to work.
Going Lean will be one of the most important reads for managers, corporate executives and investors to prepare for the decade ahead.
Going Lean consists of 3 parts each containing 4 chapters.
Part 1 is called "From Crisis to Excellence." This is sort-of an introduction part where the author describes the problems with the current system of management and how this will need to change. He dives into history to look at Ford and Toyota and how Ford created a huge innovation but then lost their competitive edge because of their disability to compete based on changes. Chapter 3 introduces one of the key concepts of the book called "value curve" which basically describes that traditionally businesses are optimized towards a certain amount of production (economy of scale) and lean companies are optimized towards a more linear cost/value ration (which other authors might call "economy of flow"). Also, this part of the book introduces a term the author seems to have invented called "lean dynamics" which is the the authors flavor of lean. I found it unneeded to introduce another flavor of Lean and was slightly annoyed by this.
Part 2 is called "The Foundational Element" which suggests fairly abstract things that would need to be in place in order to implement "lean dynamics". It starts with a focus on measurement and it especially criticizes internal measurements and promotes more external measurements of value. It talks about the "bullwhip" effect and how you shouldn't optimize from your company perspective but throughout the whole value stream. It covers leveling the variation by grouping different products into "product groups" (which the author stressed a lot) and explains how organizations ought to move from push production to lean pull productions.
Part 3 is called "Implementing Lean Dynamics" which basically describes all the traditional top-down driven change management concepts for implementing a "Lean Dynamics Program" even though some of the Lean proponents lessons from Toyota have always been that Lean isn't a Program but a result of a problem-solving culture. Here, I personally felt very disappointed with the authors writing as it focused very little on the people and the culture of an organization and much more on management and measurement and traditional aspects of organizations. The last chapter in this part covers several pitfalls for your lean dynamics transformation program.
I didn't really enjoy the book. The writing felt like a lot of marketing and selling speech. The common examples used (Walmart, Toyota, Southwest) have been used again and again. Some other examples were interesting though (Hibbett, Garrity Tool company). I was annoyed by the amount of repetition and the shallow-ness of the book. Also, the traditional focus on how to manage change projects was... well... not interesting. All in all, I wouldn't suggest to read this book about Lean but instead pick up the traditional Womack Jones books such as Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated and Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together or the Liker Toyota books such as The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer or Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way. For more original insight on Toyota, I'd look for Ohno and stories such as Taiichi Ohno's Workplace Management and The Birth of Lean. Even as an overview to Lean, I don't think this is a book that you ought to pick up, especially as the author cherry-picks lean concepts and adds his own favorites (e.g. value curves).
All that said, this book wasn't bad either. It didn't contains much things that were wrong and the author did share some of his own experiences which added some new value and insights. Therefore, I've been thinking about whether it ought to be a 2 or a 3 star rating and decided to stick with 2 stars. Leave this and look for other Lean books, unless you read all the others already (but then this one doesn't provide much new insights)
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