Summary of The Lean Book of Lean

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  • Applicable
  • Overview
  • For Beginners


Supply-chain consultant John Earley argues that your people make or break your firm’s transformation into an organization that “maximizes flow” and is “customer demand-driven.” Using informal language, Earley outlines commonsense do’s and don’ts for your Lean journey. He rambles a bit through this potpourri of helpful ideas, and concludes his guide with an excellent glossary. getAbstract recommends Earley’s overview to consultants and business practitioners who are learning about Lean, operational excellence and continuous improvement.

About the Author

John Earley is a founding partner of SmartChain International and a consultant to large companies undergoing supply chain transformations. He formerly held positions at Rolls Royce Aero Engines, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and AstraZeneca.



“Core Lean Principles”

Your most important Lean manufacturing objective is to achieve more with less by following these “principles”:

  • “Be customer demand-driven” – Do only those things your customers want.
  • “Maximize flow” – Finish everything you start and avoid holdups.
  • “Eliminate waste” – Identify overage in “materials, time and resources”; eliminate it.
  • “Declare war on variation” – Allowing variability creates unnecessary uncertainty. Find the cause of variation and get rid of it.
  • “Organize people around outcomes” – Make your colleagues accountable for delivering customer demand-driven products or services, and create an organizational structure that supports your mission.
  • “Equip people” with necessary skills – Establish and maintain skills training as a foundation for organizational development.
  • Implement “simple measures and controls” – Things happen fast in Lean environments, so install “warning indicators” at “critical points” before something fails.

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