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John Shook learned about lean management while working for Toyota for nearly 11 years in Japan and the U.S., helping it transfer production, engineering, and management systems from Japan to NUMMI and subsequently to other operations around the world. While at Toyota's headquarters, he became the company's first American kacho (manager) in Japan. In the U.S., Shook joined Toyota’s North American engineering, research and development center in Ann Arbor, MI, as general manager of administration and planning. His last position with Toyota was as senior American manager with the Toyota Supplier Support Center in Lexington, KY, assisting North American companies implement the Toyota Production System. As co-author of Learning to See John helped introduce the world to value-stream mapping. John also co-authored Kaizen Express, a bi-lingual manual of the essential concepts and tools of the Toyota Production System. In Managing to Learn, he describes the A3 management process at the heart of lean management and leadership.
Shook is an industrial anthropologist with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii, and is a graduate of the Japan-America Institute of Management Science. He is the former director of the University of Michigan, Japan Technological Management Program, and faculty of the university’s Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering.
He is the author of "Toyota’s Secret: The A3 Report"; Sloan Management Review, July 2010 and "How to Change a Culture: Lessons from NUMMI"; Sloan Management Review, January 2010, which won Sloan’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize for outstanding article in the field of organizational development.
Shook is a sought-after conference keynoter who has been interviewed on lean management by National Public Radio, Bloomberg News, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, and numerous trade publications.
Art Smalley is a renowned expert specializing in leadership, problem solving, and operational improvement.
In the latter part of the 1980s Art was one of the first Americans to work for Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan, first studying at different universities in Japan and then learning the principles of TPS in the historic Kamigo engine plant where Taiichi Ohno was the founding plant manager. Art also played an instrumental role in the development and transfer of TPS methods and precision equipment to Toyota’s overseas plants.
After a decade in Japan, Art returned to the United States and served as Director of Lean Manufacturing for Donnelly Corporation for five years. Art helped lead one of the most impressive lean transformations in North America. Donnelly won multiple awards while substantially improving net income, as well as operational metrics in safety, quality, productivity, delivery, and morale. Art’s work and this turnaround was featured in Forbes and many other publications.
In 1998, Art joined the international management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company and was one of the firm’s leading experts in lean manufacturing. He counseled numerous Fortune 500 clients on operational matters involving lean implementation and oversaw numerous successful quality, cost, and delivery improvement projects.
In 2003, Art launched his own company Art of Lean, Inc. and now divides his time serving a diverse base of clients such as Parker Hannifin, Delphi, Timken, Schlumberger, Gillette, Nexteer, Sandia National Laboratories, private equity groups, and many other organizations. A vast array of articles, guides, and documents pertaining to leadership and lean are available on his website: www.artoflean.com
Art serves as author and periodic advisor to the Lean Enterprise Institute and its global affiliates, delivering lectures to leading manufacturing executives around the world. In 2005, Art authored the Shingo Publication Award-winning workbook Creating Level Pull on implementing basic pull production. In 2008, he co-authored with his friend and colleague Professor Durward K. Sobek, the Shingo winning book Understanding A3 Thinking. In 2010, Art published Toyota's Kaizen Methods: Six Steps to Improvement with Isao Kato. In 2018, Art wrote his latest book Four Types of Problems, published by the Lean Enterprise Institute.