Top 10 Lean Six Sigma Books
So what is a good book if you want to learn more about Lean or get involved in Lean Six Sigma business improvements. We have pulled together a comprehensive list of lean six sigma books we recommend covering Lean Leadership, Lean Thinking, Lean Six Sigma Project Tools and Techniques for Green Belt, Black Belt for example through to classical lean books direct from the Toyota Production System.
While many refer to The Machine That Changed the World as the foundation of the Lean Revolution, I would still, without doubt, recommend Lean Thinking as the best introduction to Lean. It’s more accessible and while written initial in 1996, it was updated in 2002. The examples throughout the book remain meaningful and its a great mind opener for the world of lean. Definitely, the best introductory read for anyone interested in learning more about lean.
After Lean Thinking, Lean Solution is a great book that takes Lean thinking to the next level and begins to review actual industries and identifying the gap between customers and providers. With greater choice and greater flexibility, it highlights how providers need to be adding greater and greater value to customers. There is a great chapter on the automotive sector which has almost become visionary.
The Toyota Way introduces the 14 Principles which give great insight into how the Lean approach translates across the core operational and strategic decision-making processes through an organisation. These 14 principles become clear management principles that underpin Toyota
Now, WARNING, this is a technical book which I would recommend for anyone doing their Green Belt or Black Belt training and particularly useful for candidates who are running DMAIC project. The book is structured around DMAIC and with the practical examples, downloadable data sets recently updated screenshots from Minitab, its a great companion.
This is a classic text by Taiichi Ohno who should be credited with the creation of the Toyota just-in-time production system. “All we are doing is looking at the timeline from the moment the customer gives us an order to the moment when we collect the cash. And we are reducing that time line by removing the non-value-added wastes.” Its the closest you will get to a classic text, so it should be the essential reading of all leaders (even if a bit on the expensive side!).
This is not a book you pick up and read for the beginning to end, but something you delve into as you need to or when you a particular questions. It covers the tools, system, and principles of Lean. While it covers the tools with excellent examples that are well written, it also covers The Lean Philosophy and discusses a number of Lean Transformation frameworks for organizations. I reviewed this against the 4th Edition which I own.
Published just after the world wide recalls of 2009 and 2010, Liker published this book with a former Toyota production engineer James Franz to look at the underlying thinking behind continuous improvement. The book looks at real stories with real people and brings together examples of why the vision and the values of Toyota still work today. Some excellent sections on Lean Processes start with a process and PDCA.
The Japanese have had a structured way of learning which is evident across the martial arts where the term Kata is well known. In this book, Rother looks at two types of Kata – the improvement kata where we structure the routines which drive improvements across the business – and the Coaching Kata, how teaching and learning patterns can be used to make improvement part of companies and its employees DNA.
This is not a book you are going to read from start to end. Its more a step by step guide on how to value stream. If you are going to do any value stream, I would suggest that this is read in advance and kept by your side during the sessions. It’s a great resource to help and will help get a much better result.
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