The authors of "Lean Thinking" move their attention from lean production to "lean provision", particularly focussing on retail and services. The book makes a number of excellent arguments in a beautifully clear and readable style. The provision of goods and services to consumers is definitely the next target in the lean revolution and the authors note some particular example organisations that are achieving lean in the service sector. Tesco comes in for frequent praise.
The book does have a couple of weaknesses. Firstly, the books lacks detail on the metholodogy for achieving lean provision. Only a few vague pages are presented.
Secondly, the book would, in my view, really benefit from the input of retail experts and academics to comment on and improve the ideas that are floated by the authors. As it is, I am left with the feeling that some of these ideas are pie in the sky which would never work in the real economy.
Clearly the aim of this book is to stimulate thought and discussion on the application of lean principles to consumer service. It presents a compulsive argument for change, though no clearly worked through solutions. It moves the lean management focus onto the provision of goods and services to the consumer - where it is much needed - and, as such, is required reading for anyone involved in retail and customer service.