Lean Labor is now available for shipment at Amazon.com. Please click here to purchase the book.
Lean Labor is now available. One of the first questions I regularly receive is “What’s the difference between Lean and Lean Labor?” As the title implies, out of the 4 M’s (Man, Machine, Material and Method) this book is focused on labor.
People are an important component of Lean, one of the three pillars (Purpose, Process and People) as defined by James Womack. They are the true expertise of production and the source of new ideas according to the creators of the Toyota Production System.
Lean also recognizes that the system is susceptible to the weaknesses of the fourth M, man (woman are included in this description of course). This weakness is often exposed as a company successfully progresses with its Lean effort. This exposure occurs because one of the desired outcomes of Lean is to reduce the buffers that protect production from daily disruption. The “lean” production environment places a greater responsibility on the workforce to respond quickly and accurately to change. As a result, the many variables of the workforce such as scheduling, skills, attendance and morale have an increasing effect on the outcome of production.
To date, there has been little published on strengthening the Lean enterprise against the variability so common in the workforce. Implicitly acknowledged as independent variables in the production process, management of the workforce is often left to the experience of supervisors. Lean Labor is an answer to the current management strategy. It is a book about understanding how the workforce interacts with the other resources and demands of production and implementing change to increase workforce performance.
From ensuring that the right employee is at the right place at the right time to identifying the wide variety of waste commonly found in tracking, paying and managing employees, to improving and standardizing decision making, Lean Labor is a collection of practical experience gained in many different industries over several decades.
My goal in writing this book was to add new content to the wealth of information already available about Lean, my hope is that I provide the reader with ideas that spark new innovation in manufacturing.