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Summary of Henry Ford’s Lean Vision


Henry Ford's Lean Vision

Here is a summary and information about a book that outlines how Henry Ford provided much of the inspiration and knowledge that became the basis of the Toyota Production System. I like to use this Ford background material with anyone who takes issue with learning what they think is a system that works only in Japan. We certainly have enough American examples of how TPS works here, Toyota plants or otherwise.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus. He is currently writing his next book, tentatively titled Measures of Success.

  1. Jon Bennett says

    Very interesting. I’d like to learn more. I thought there were fundamental differences in Ford’s approach and TPS, also-due to fundamental differences in economic situations and in the culture at large.

    I thought the conditions in Japan-made flexibilty and customer satisfaction more of a priority, as it could not compete with Ford’s economy of scale. Also, it’s often said that the American worker was more willing to put up with a degrading attitude and working conditions.

    Also, Japan had a more uniform workforce, as opposed to the many illiterate migrants Ford had to work with. And Japan was more aware of the social aspect of work. At least this is what you always hear.

    Hope to read the book sometime.


  2. Mark Graban says

    I think Toyota certainly added to Ford’s lean vision, but many of the industrial engineering based lean concepts, including Flow, come from Ford and Toyota gives them credit for that. Ford also got away from their roots as mass production became the way of the land after WWII.

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