Lean management as a tool to improve corporate performance is nothing new. However, a book discussing lean management in light of the customer-centric economy has not been around.
"The Lean Enterprise", a practically-focused new book by Alexander Tsigkas, covers exactly this intersection. Alexander Tsigkas is an Assistant Professor at Democritus University of Thrace, Greece, and a Mass Customization enthusiast since many years.
The Lean Enterprise: From the Mass Economy to the Economy of One, by Alexander Tsigkas. Published by Springer.The book is divided into three part:
Part I. The rising economy of “one” gives an overview of what is changing in the social system of production, focusing on the shrinking role of central planning and the rising power of individuation in the value creation chain.
Part II. "Lean eEnterprise in theory" refers to the principles of lean thinking, the transfer of lean philosophy from East to West, and discusses the necessary adaptation to the Western way of thinking and practice. It presents a practice-proven method for achieving a lean integrated demand and supply chain and analyses in detail the related implementation steps. Criteria for the successful transition of a company to a lean state are presented.
Part III. "Lean Enterprise in Practice" provides a number of implementation cases in different types of production companies using the method presented in Part II. The goal is to help the reader comprehend how the method can be applied to real lean implementation situations in resolving various issues, ranging from production to the supply chain. A vision of implementation to lean electricity rounds out the book.In his book, Alexander Tsigkas
- shows a methodical step-by-step way to design and implement lean management, in production, in logistics in cost accounting and procurement and in Sales and Marketing
- demonstrates numerous case studies from a wide range of industrial fields, helping the reader to learn how to proceed from theory to practice quickly
- presents a unique way of how to use the method for repositioning lean management when needed
- offers a European way to lean management: a method-based implementation instead of a principle and tools based Japanese philosophy.
FTP: For interested readers it is not difficult to find books on lean management, lean enterprise, lean production and so on. What sets your new book apart from the already existing competition on the market?
AC: What I wanted to achieve with this book is to merge "Lean Thinking" and "Lean Practice" with the increasingly individualization and customization of products and services addressing markets of one. This is not only a technical aspect, but as as far as I am concerned, this mix comprises the key substrate of a new social system of production currently emerging away from mass production.
A large number of the books available in the market reproduce lean principles based on the Toyota Production System without any critical reflection as whether they fit or not the western way of thinking and acting. They are usually of general purpose and case studies from real factory life are limited. Last but most important, they realy do not reveal how exactly "pull" in the factory can be achieved, and if they do there is no method behind as to how to design optimal "pull" of work and materials in different production environments.
FTP: In your book you present a “European way” to lean management Can you explain what exactly that means and what is unique about it?
AC: In Europe and I would add also the US, production is driven mainly by engineers. The western way of thinking and acting is more engineering oriented and less workers oriented as it is the case in Japan where the culture of continuous improvement is written into their "DNA" (sort of saying). In Europe (and the US), engineering based factory means that improvements come mainly through the engineers, who love to design systems (also production systems), set them for operation in production, observe them for some period of time and if they need improvement they redesign some part of it or all of it, at some point in time.
The every day continuous improvement way of the Japanese is culturally not compatiblble with the western way of thinking and acting. Where it is implemented, it is executed imposed by force by the management, with usually high effort and therefore costs compared to the benefits achieved. Why therefore impose a way of lean thinking and practice that is strange to the local culture and not using the culture to proceed at a methodical and more engineering based way of Design for Lean Production and time discontinued improvement?
FTP: Which groups do most benefit from reading your book? Is is aimed more towards the manager in a large multinational company or can SME profit from the findings and implications as well?
AC: The book is aimed towards both the manager in a large multinational company as well as the managers of an SME. Exactly because it a method based process, it can be adapted and used to be implemented in many different company environments. The cases show exactly how to adapt and implement the method in large enterprises as well as SME. Almost half of the book is dedicated to implementations covering various cases and settings.
Furthermore, this book also addresses the academic community which needs more insight into the theory and method that support lean in connection to customization practice.
FTP: Alexander, thank you very muc -- and I hope your book will find a wide audience. See you at the MCP-CP 2012.