There is a lot of good lean material out there you can get your hands on for free, so I thought it was about time I used the power of the blog to spread the word.
For starters, everyone ought to be hitting Art Smalley’s site, The Art of Lean. Art, for those who have been living in a cave and haven’t heard of him, was the the first American to work for Toyota manufacturing in Japan. He wrote the powerful article for Superfactory, TPS versus Lean and the Law of Unintended Consequences, and the follow up to it, TPS versus Lean: Additional Perspectives. He also published an interview with Ike Kato called Shigeo Shingo’s Influence on TPS. Kato was a Toyota HR and Training Manager who worked with Shingo back in the days when the great industrial engineer was consulting to Toyota.
After you have absorbed all of that, go to Art’s site and unlock a treasure trove of interviews and articles about lean and Toyota. The great thing about Art is that he is one of the most unpretentious people I know. He just lays the facts of the Toyota Production System out there, from the point of view of one who worked intimately with it for years, and lets you take it or leave it. You can poke around Art’s web site and pick up more free information on the Toyota Production System than many paid experts will ever hope to know.
Mark Edmondson over at Lean Affiliates also has a site and he puts out a monthly lean newsletter that has a lot of interesting content too. You might even want to read a couple of articles I wrote for his newsletter if you get truly desperate for something to read. You can find them in his Newsletter section, and they are there for you to just start browsing through. If you’re smart, you’ll sign up to get his newsletter every month. More important, he passed along a Power Point presentation on GE’s approach to lean health care. Who knows how many dumpsters in back of GE he rummaged through to find it, but it is really good.
Finally, Mark Graban, over at the Lean Blog sent me an email today talking up a PBS program on lean health care called "Good News: How Hospitals Heal Themselves". The production was funded by the folks who made the 1980 Deming DVD "Japan Can, Why Can’t We?", which was a fine piece of work. I haven’t seen the health care show, but if Mark Graban recommends it and these guys made it, I can promise you it’s worthwhile. You can shell out a couple bucks to order it at through Mark, or you can check the PBS schedule in your area and see when they’re are running it. If it’s not scheduled on your PBS station, call ’em up and badger ’em into doing so.
That ought to keep you reading and watching for a while. I’ll pass on more when I find it.