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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Lean Toolbox: The Essential Guide to Lean Transformation
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2008
The New Lean Toolbox is a great compilation and summary of all the lean approaches being deployed today. Bicheno ties together all these approaches in a framework that elevates the readers understanding of how lean works as an interlocking system of techniques not as isolated tools. It is a excellent companion and guide to the world of lean and it will lead to rich sources of deeper learning on its vast subject matter. It is a veritable lean in short hand book that is the best possible thesaurus /codex for any lean practitioner or novice alike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Lean is a management methodology that seeks to maximise customer value by giving the customer the product or service they want in the most efficient (least wasteful) manner. The key in the title is "toolbox"; this book is not a primer but a summary of the latest thinking in the Lean methodology.
The book starts with a brief history of Lean from its roots with Deming and Ford, through the ground-breaking work of Ohno (in developing the Toyota Production System) to its renaissance in the West through the work of Womak and Jones and others.

The word "new" in the title refers to recent refinements in Lean methodology thinking, incorporating ideas from such approaches as Six Sigma, Enterprise Resource Planning and Time-based Completion, amongst others. The book summarises the five principles of Lean:
* Specify what constitutes value from a customer's viewpoint;
* Identify the value stream - which parts of the business add value and which parts do not (i.e. which parts are waste);
* Make the value flow - seek to remove the non-value-added parts of the business;
* Ensure that the demand is pulled - driven by the customer's demand, rather than stockpiling according to supply;
* Seek to perfect the process by iteration.

In addition, there are summaries of the "wastes" that Lean aims remove. These wastes differ according to which sector is being studied; for example, these are the suggested wastes for service industries:
* delay on the part of customers waiting for a delivery;
* duplication;
* un-necessary movement or queuing;
* unclear communication;
* incorrect inventory;
* lost opportunity to retain or win customers;
* errors in the service delivered through products being defective or lost.

Interestingly, in the spirit of "new" Lean, he also specifies some "new" wastes, such as:
* energy and water;
* materials;
* untapped human potential;
* inappropriate systems, either paper-based or automated.

The bulk of the book consists of a list of tools based around the author's framework, targeted at experienced Lean practitioners. The author explains that he does not expect all the tools to be used on all engagements; rather it is up to the reader to use their experience to select the best tools for a particular problem. Bicheno also stresses that the Lean process is continuous, iterative process. His framework consists of following sections:
* understanding Lean principles
* understanding customers
* strategy, planning and communication
* understanding the system and mapping
* product rationalisation and design
* implementing the foundation stones
* the value-stream implementation cycle
* building a Lean culture
* Lean supply
* Lean distribution
* costing and measuring
* improving and sustaining.

The section involving Strategy is especially interesting as the author is clearly familiar with executive-level business theories that define and improve value. He advocates Kano analysis as the most powerful technique in for developing products; he has a good section on Scenarios (although his failure to extend this to mention assumption-based planning is little surprising); he outlines how Lean techniques are complementary with Kaplan and Norton's Balanced Scorecard and credits Jim Collins as succinctly defining the primary characteristics of people management.

One of the key parts of Lean is to determine which parts of the business add value and which parts do not - the value-stream. In the section dealing with this, Bicheno gives detailed advice on the tools to help with this; here there is overlap with business process modelling. In the Costing section, he makes a plea for simplified accounting practises, naming conventional activity-based accounting as too bureaucratic.

This is a hugely comprehensive book summarising the latest thinking in Lean. It is biased towards manufacturing - not surprising, as Lean practitioners have only recently turned their attention to the service sector. As so much material is packed in, some of the text is succinct - to the point of terseness at times; no matter, every experienced practitioner will want a copy close to hand.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 24 January 2008
An excellent book. Very concise in explanations yet easy to understand. Well worth buying as a reference book that can help you explain to others what the tools are all about and jog your memory if you need to find a specific tool.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2008
John Bicheno has pulled together all the information on Lean together in this wonderful reference book. He gives all references and sources for further reading.

As of the 2004 edition I noticed some minor typos in the edition, but this should not stop you from buying what is likely to become a definitive Lean reference book for Lean practioners.

Case Study photographs of practical application of some of the techniques would only add to the value of a future edition.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
The "New" Lean Toolbox means just that this is not just an updated versionof the previous Lean toolbox but a different way to approach what is ineffect the Best Current Method of production.
Whilst the book does provide the same level of detail as the previous LeanToolbox, ie a good description of individual techiques and conceptsfollowed by references for the reader to further discover. The thoughtbehind the book is much more holistic in approach.
Namely the book postulates the combination of Theory of Constraints, Leanand Six Sigma and urges the reader to consider their production systemssolely with respect to customer wants and needs, using whatever tool orapproach is appropriate, even increasing WIP!
Another excellent book by Bicheno, this one will be well thumbed by manyproduction personnel. At least until his next one is published.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2008
One of the best overall references for lean. John has brought together a wealth of knowledge and common sense and created a great reference for anyone wanting to understand almost any aspect of lean, right up to date. The book is highly practical and a very good every day reference.

I also like the play on words 'New Lean' which supports current thinking in how lean needs to be expanded beyond tools into lean management or value systems.
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on 9 February 2014
The shipping time from uk was super fast. Actually it was faster and a lot cheaper to purshase this book from the uk compared to order from sweden(!). The book it self i need for studies which havnt started just jet but from what i can tell it contain the requiered info.
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on 3 January 2014
Used this book throughout a project I was working on and am now 6 sigma qualified. Well written, well "streamed", easy to look up relevant information - well worth the purchase and would not hesitate to recommend this to anyone working on a 6 sigma project.
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on 16 April 2014
The book was in excellent condition and the contents are what I expected. should make interesting reading. Many thanks for supplying in good time also.
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on 8 March 2013
This is a great book, however some pictures could be attached on next time. The pros and cons of Lean tools re really well justified.
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