The Machine That Changed the World is a 1991 book based on the "Massachusetts Institute of Technology's $5 million, five-year study on the future of the automobile, written by "James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and "Daniel Roos.
This book made the term "lean production known worldwide. It has been translated into eleven languages and has been sold more than 600,000 times. A revised edition was published in 2007.
"James P. Womack was a highly-regarded professor and authority on systems engineering at "MIT. He went on to become the founder of the Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc. Co-authors of the book, Daniel Jones and Daniel Roos have also authored many other well-respected books on lean manufacturing and engineering techniques.
In his book review, MIT then-student wrote that the history of lean manufacturing began with artisans prior to the industrial revolution when standardized supplies were not yet available to enable large production runs. It wasn't until Henry Ford revolutionized mass production for his automobiles that made it possible for minimally-trained workers to assemble cars quickly and efficiently. Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota modified the process into the first true "lean" method of production. They were able to eliminate much of the waste inherent in Ford's system, making smaller batches of parts to be used as needed as opposed to stocking larger quantities. Toyota also empowered its workers to improve the process and stop the line when issues and errors occurred. This new, lean method required communications to flow in both directions and increased quality while reducing time and costs. The authors, Womack, Jones, and Roos, suggest that lean production can be used outside of automobile manufacturing by adapting its principles to traditional mass production of many kinds.
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