The most important problem for these companies is becoming lean: how can they advance beyond realizing isolated gains from deploying lean tools, to fundamentally changing how they operate, think, and learn? In other words, how can companies learn to go beyond lean turnaround to achieve lean transformation? The Lean Manager: A Novel of Lean Transformation, by lean experts Michael and Freddy Ballé, addresses this critical problem. As we move from what Jim Womack, author, lean management authority, and LEI founder, calls “the era of lean tools to the era of lean management,” The Lean Manager gives companies a definitive guide for sustaining their ability to learn and improve operations and financial performance, while continually developing people.
“The only way to become and stay lean is to produce lean managers,” says Womack. “Every isolated effort will recede—or fail—unless companies learn to use the lean process as a way of developing individual problem-solvers with the ownership, initiative, and know-how to solve problems, learn, and ultimately coach new individuals in this discipline. That’s why this book matters so much.”
The Lean Manager, the sequel to the Ballé’s international bestselling business novel The Gold Mine, tells the compelling story of plant manager Andrew Ward as he goes through the challenging but rewarding journey to becoming a lean manager. Under the guidance of Phil Jenkinson (whose own lean journey was at the core of The Gold Mine), Ward learns to use a deep understanding of lean tools, as well as a technical know-how of his plant’s operations, to foster a lean attitude that sustains continuous improvement.