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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read This Perfect Book, 1 Dec 2003
By 
LI YIMIN (Nottingham United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production (Paperback)
Perfect description and analysis of the auto industry and lean production.
I am studying the Operations Management in the university, and this book is in the reading list of the module of Manufacturing Strategy. I spent 4 days to finish it, because I found it was better than the textbook I used----more profound, more in detail, and more interesting for me to read through it. I learn a lot from it that can't be learned from the testbooks.
Maybe the only regret is this book was writen in 1990, so the author can not say something later than that year, which changed a lot since 1990. I hope that I can read the new book concerning the change since 1990, which I think should be published in the year 2005.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in-depth analysis of the automobile industry., 12 Dec 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production (Paperback)
In "The Machine That Changed the World", Womack, along with several other individuals, give an analysis of the Automobile Industry within global boundaries. This book was the summarization of a five year, five million dollar study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Analysis was provided for both foreign and domestic automobile manufacturers with an eye toward the future. This book spoke "globally" far earlier than it was hip to speak in such terms, analyzing such foreign automotive powers such as Toyota, with their Toyota Production System, perhaps the greatest example of Lean Manufacturing in the world. For anyone who would like to learn anything about the automobile industry in general, or even further, would like to learn about successful business practices, I highly recommend this text.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A prophetic analysis of a complex industry!, 26 April 2005
A very readable and well researched book that explains how the automotive industry has developed from a 'craft industry', through 'mass production', into the 'lean enterprises' that will dominate the industry of the future.
The authors explain the different management philosophies at each stage of development, and explore how these have transformed the lifes and expecations of the workforce and consumers in this global industry. They conclude with a prophetic vision of the future, highlighting the need for the major players to be transformed into 'lean enterprises' as a pre-condition for surival.
Essential reading for anybody in the automotive sector or with an interest in the social impact different management techniques and philosophies.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lean foundations, 18 May 2007
By 
Stephen Parry "Author of Sense and Respond" (Lean Service Transformation Designer London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This book contains all the seeds of the Lean Production Ideas. A must for the serious Lean Practitioner. This is the most influential book on the subject. However it needs a great deal of study and deep understanding but it's worth it for the insight and Lean foundations it provides.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Becoming Lean and Mean!, 25 Aug 2008
Lean production (now frequently called Lean manufacturing) has melded into several industries here in the United States, but back when this book was written, it was just catching on. I read the book in 2000. Many of the concepts are still worthwhile in this book, both for the historical significance as well as the lean ideas presented.

The Machine that Changed the World is a fascinating book that teaches what the Japanese learned and how to apply their ideas to the US auto market. Competition is always tough, but these tools provides a competitive advantage to those companies who embrace them and make them part of doing business. Not all ideas are applicable to every application, but there are plenty of diamonds to be farmed here.

Well trained employees, a commitment to excellence by everyone (from the janitor to the CEO), teamwork, flexibility of skill sets, and learning lessons from successes and failures are all important elements of lean manufacturing. Setting up manufacturing lines efficiently, working closely with suppliers, line smoothing, encouraging innovative and cost saving suggestions and much more are also critical lean concepts.

Lean manufacturing doesn't happen overnight and a company and its employees must be diligent in their efforts to put high quality products at reasonable prices out the door.

The Machine that Changed the World is highly rated by many people and should be. It has timeless ideas to produce higher quality products and recommends never being completely satisfied. Well written and researched, this is a top notch book!

The Re-Discovery of Common Sense: A Guide To: The Lost Art of Critical Thinking
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars does what it says...., 20 Feb 2012
Whilst not one to be passed around friends and family, this book for those interested or employed in a LEAN role is a must. Well explained and knowledge gather.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The machine that changed the world, 29 July 2011
A good introduction to LEAN manufacturing, using the auto industry to provide examples. Although originally written in 1990, this book still provides a very good explanation of why and how the LEAN methodology developed. This book is an absolute bargain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, even now 20 - 25 years after the research was done, 21 July 2010
Written to appeal to more than just engineers, it offers great insight into the differences between US, Euro and Japanese car manufacturing (although the findings probably hold true for many more industries).

I recognise many of the mass production and lean production systems from modern factories, where a mixture of the two is the most common these days. Certainly reading this helped me to better understand the origins of many of these systems/techniques, and how far they can be taken.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Machine That Changed The World is important reading, 25 Mar 2009
By 
W. D. M. Martin (Glasgow, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
For an understanding of what Lean production is thought to be this is important reading, not because I agree with its basic premise around what lean is (which incidentally I don't) but because of the influence that it has had on all forms of manufacturing and many other types of work organisation. The arguments are clearly set out and easy to follow. It's an interesting read and more useful than later books on lean by the same authors.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Beginners Book, 3 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production (Paperback)
This is a great book if you are just taking an interest in the auto industry and would like to gain a simple understanding of lean vs. mass production. Outside of the fact that the author hangs on a few subjects, this book reads very fast.
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