Shingo, Shigeo. A Study of the Toyota Production System from an Industrial Engineering Viewpoint. Portland, Oregon: Productivity Press, 1989. Shingo, a mechanical engineer and one of the only outside consultants used by Toyota in the early days, actually did what Toyota had truly feared Ohno would do. He wrote down the specific techniques of the Toyota system. Yet he did it in such an anecdotal way (and in such an awful translation in the original 1981 version) that hardly anyone could understand what he was talking about. This 1989 translation (offered here) is smooth flowing, making Shingo’s insights more accessible and useful, prompting one reviewer to call it the “green bible” on JIT, Toyota, and kanban. But Shingo, like all of the lean classics in this section, is best read a little bit at a time as a smorgasbord of ideas. Your challenge will be to link them into a true system. We have found that our learning has proceeded by reading these volumes, then applying them in actual practice, then rereading them. Each time, the author’s intent becomes clearer and -- a bonus -– you get the feeling of growing mastery.
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