Summary of Lean Solutions

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Authors James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones were early proselytizers for the lean production philosophy, a set of "waste-not-want-not" principles that most businesses now accept. But good business requires more than efficient production. Noting that consumers are still not happy, despite an abundant supply of high-quality, low-cost products, the authors now have subjected consumption to "lean" analysis as well - and they’ve found that consumption is as inefficient as production used to be. Consumers face lengthy delays, unhelpful "help" lines, ineffective service representatives, and other annoying and costly wastes of time and energy. getAbstract recommends this book to managers who want to boost their customers’ satisfaction by applying lean principles to consumption as well as to production. Here’s how and, even more important, why.

About the Authors

James P. Womack is president and founder of a nonprofit organization focusing on lean approaches in Brookline, Massachusetts. Daniel T. Jones is chairman and founder of a nonprofit organization that teaches lean business approaches in the U.K.



"Lean Production"

These five principles are the foundation of the philosophy of "lean production:"

  1. Offer customers what they want, not what you want to give them.
  2. Each project or service has a value stream, consisting of all the actions necessary to take it from the initial concept to the hands of the customer. Test each procedure to determine whether it creates value. If it does not, change or eliminate it.
  3. Make flow continuous by doing away with waiting time and unnecessary inventory.
  4. Rely on customer pull instead of manufacturer push.
  5. Keep seeking perfection through these principles.

Most businesses now take these principles for granted, assuming they must provide customers with high-quality products at the lowest possible prices. Yet most consumers are still unsatisfied. Lean production was not enough; to make your customers happy, you must apply lean principles to consumption as well.

Five Inexorable Consumption Trends

In its complexity, consumption resembles production. Five trends are shaping the way consumption works:

  1. Mass customization...

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