Guide books - Recommended Reading

Sherpa Consulting recommends a number of books which provide background information on areas in which we offer services. Books may be purchased direct from Amazon by clicking on the image of the book or the Amazon Shop now button.

Lean Management
The Machine that Changed the World
James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones & Daniel Roos
This book, first published in 1990, alerted the world to magnitude of the advantages that Toyota was gaining from the way it built cars. It arose from a five year international project comparing car plants around the world and provided unequivocal evidence that the management philosophy now known as Lean was able to deliver dramatic improvements in operational performance.The authors examine the history of car making in the West and contrast it with the history in Japan, showing how the different cultures and economic pressures led to different approaches to manufacturing. The study analyses the entire lean business system from product development to supplier management, sales, service and production. While this book is focussed on the car industry, the lessons can clearly be applied to any manufacturing operation nd, with a little imagination, to any other type of business.
Lean Thinking
James P. Womack & Daniel T. Jones
Following The Machine That Changed the World Womack & Jones set out to generalise the lessons learnt to all processes, devising the five Principles of Lean which set the direction for process improvement. Lots of examples of Lean in action both in Japan and in the West including Porsche, Pratt & Whitney and Toyota.
Lean Solutions
James P. Womack & Daniel T. Jones
In Lean Solutions Womack and Jones develop the concept of Lean Consumption, exploring what business will increasingly have to do to remain competitive as the expectations of consumers are raised. Examples are drawn from a wide range of production and service industries.
The Toyota Way
Jeffrey K. Liker
Jeffrey Liker spent twenty years studying Toyota. In this book he concentrates on the management philosophy underpinning the Toyota Production System rather than the tools which were developed to help implement the system. Liker observes that it is only the companies which successfully adopt the management philosophy that can really become lean: companies which just try to work with the tools without adopting the management philosophy will underperform a truly lean company by an order of magnitude. Liker identifies fourteen principles which are essential to achieving lean and explores how these can be applied in both production and service sectors.
The Toyota Way Fieldbook
Jeffrey K. Liker & David Meier
A practical manual to implementing the 14 principles described in The Toyota Way. Explains the thinking behind the lean tools so that they can be adapted to other working environments.
Gemba Kaizen
Masaaki Imai
Masaaki Imai published his book Kaizen: the key to Japan's competitive success in 1986, revealing to the West some of the secrets of the Toyota Production System. Gemba Kaizen, published 11 years later updates the earlier work and presents 21 case studies of companies improving their processes by applying his Kaizen principles.
The Lean Toolbox: The Essential Guide to Business Transformation (4th Edn)
John Bicheno
A comprehensive guide to the full range of lean tools and concepts, along with supporting approaches such as Theory of Constraints. Bicheno's book is a handy aide-mémoire and includes copious suggestions for further reading.
The Gold Mine
Freddy Ballé & Michael Ballé
An excellent book for introducing Lean Manufacturing. The Ballés tells the story of a factory turnaround in novel form. Explores all the core manufacturing concepts of waste elimination, single piece flow, demand levelling and continuous improvement, as well as the human issues which will inevitably impact on any lean programme.
Freedom from Command & Control
John Seddon
Seddon investigates management in the service sector and demonstrates why the conventional management approach for service organisations drives performance down and costs up. Although not explicitly a Lean book, Seddon's approach parallels Ohno's, in particular in the counter-intuitive nature of some of his findings. Seddon finds that the imposition of performance targets has a direct and negative impact on performance. An essential read for anyone in the service sector.
Beyond Budgeting
Jeremy Hope & Robin Fraser
The annual budget is a familiar component of every manager's life. For weeks, sometimes months, budget-setting dominates management time, adds little or no value to the business and constrains the organisation's freedom of action and speed of response for the following 18 months. Delivery of the agreed budget usually comprises a large element of a manager's performance appraisal and provides a strong financial incentive for dysfunctional, sometimes unethical, management behaviour. It is clearly not a Lean way to run a business, but is there an alternative?There is, and this fascinating book shows how any business can be run without the enervating encumbrance of the annual budget round. This is not merely a theoretical treatise: detailed examples are given of how three major companies - Rhodia, Borealis and Svenska Handelsbanken - replaced the annual budget with dynamic, adaptive financial management systems.
Theory of Constraints
The Goal
Eliyahu M. Goldratt & Jeff Cox
Goldratt presents his Theory of Constraints (TOC) in the format of a highly readable novel. We follow a plant manager, Alex Rogo, as he battles to save his threatened plant from closure with help from his physicist friend Jonah. Goldratt explores the causes of the plant's problems - a product of the traditional management and accounting practices used - and shows how TOC addresses the root cause of the problem. The book introduces the concept of Throughput Accounting and Drum-Buffer-Rope scheduling as well as TOC.
It's Not Luck
Eliyahu M. Goldratt
The sequel to The Goal introduces Goldratt's Thinking Process, a logical way to understand and resolve conflicts. As well as reinforcing the messages of The Goal, It's Not Luck explores the importance of market segmentation and the treatment of the market as a constraint to be addressed using the Theory of Constraints.
Critical Chain
Eliyahu M. Goldratt
In Critical Chain the Theory of Constraints is applied to project management problems.  The result is, unsurprisingly, rather like the Project Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) but with recognition of the issue of overload of resources.  Goldratt also presents further development of his Thinking Process.
Process Simulation
Simulation: The Practice of Model Development and Use
Stewart Robinson
This is a comprehensive guide to simulation modelling aimed at the novice modeller or business user. It explains the principles underpinning simulation, explores the benefits and shows how a project should be undertaken with the assistance of two case studies.
Improvement in Practice
Ricardo Semmler
Semmler describes the transformation of the company - Semco - which he inherited from his father. Semmler encouraged staff to take decisions themselves rather than referring them up the corporate hierarchy and in doing so effectively destroyed both the hierarchy and the mechanisms required to maintain it. As a result productivity soared and the company has maintained a 40% annual growth rate for more than 20 years. This growth has not been achieved purely in high growth industries such as electronics: the Semco group includes companies making industrial mixers, refrigeration systems, commercial real estate, facilities management, environmental consultancy, HR outsourcing and a number of internet companies. This book challenges centuries-old assumptions about how work should be organised and Semco's performance demonstrates that Semmler's approach to industrial democracy really works. A challenging and thought-provoking book.
How to Transform Your Company and Enjoy It!
Ken Lewis OBE & Stephen Lytton
Ken Lewis tells of the journey taken by his company, Dutton Engineering (Woodside) Ltd, from a run-of-the-mill metal fabricator to a world-class enterprise. He recounts the various improvements tried - Total Quality Management (TQM), cellular manufacturing, Kaizen and annualised hours among others - and reports on the problems encountered and how they were solved. This is an inspiring book which shows that with management commitment and a willingness to learn and adapt, any business can radically improve its performance.
Sherpa Consulting is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to