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The Source of Lean Production but sadly disappointing
on 1 November 2007
"Toyota Production System" was published in 1979 in Japanese and, in English in 1988. It is the source material on the toyota production system and, in my view, it is often good to go back to the source. Sadly, this book is disappointing. The writing style is clunky (perhaps a poor translation) and the book lacks structure; being more of a semi-random collection of points than a development of ideas. Nevertheless there is some interesting stuff in here. For example, I didn't realise that Mr Ohno ranked kanban (with quick changeovers) as the core of the system and essential to success. Often in lean kanban seems to be a bit of a side issue: here it is vital. Also there is an interesting analysis of some of Henry Ford's early writings compared to TPS. This would be good material for a student essay. However, for the philosophy of TPS you will get much more out of "The Toyota Way" or "The Toyota Way Fieldbook"; and for the tools of lean go to "Lean Production Simplified" or the many other books in this area. This book is a bit of a let-down I am sad to say.