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Review: Leading and managing the lean management process—Gene Fliedner

Prabesh Aryal
May 14, 2012

“Lean must be viewed as a framework of comprehensive, integral system consisting of four interdependent elements: leadership, culture, team and practices and tools.”

The gist of lean management is well been elaborated in Gene Fliedner’s book Leading and Managing the Lean Management Process. Many of us know that the lean methods were designed to minimise waste, maximise value, and reduce complexity and variation throughout an organisation and its supply chain. However, how it should be implemented in real life situations is an ongoing challenge to the organisation and its management.

Using his more than 30 years’ experience, Fliedner has written on the organised approach in this book, expounding lean management from the theoretical to experiences of practical and proven methods of doing and managing work.

The book elaborates on lean management phases, its components and development, and its body of knowledge in its introduction chapter, well beyond the contribution by father of the lean concepts Henry Ford Senior and others at Toyota.

The next four chapters talk about lean management components including identifying improvement opportunities and eliminating waste. The author then explains the differences between manufacturing and service environments and how this limits the applicability of lean practices and tools.

Further into the book, Fliedner examines the customer-driven philosophy of Total Quality Management (TQM) and explains the current and future frontiers of lean, sustainability and knowledge disconnection. While sustainability is a long-term objective and goes beyond internal improvements and waste reduction, his discussion on the future of lean covers how the exchange of accurate and timely information between supply chain trading partners can lead to economic, social and environmental benefits. From the viewpoint of lean management, the author put his thoughts on how the future of knowledge and information can be shared.

From a project management perspective, the book is the combination of theoretical perspectives and practical situations. In addition, with the framework of four interdependent lean management elements and the historical timeline of lean contributions, the author has gone further beyond and highlighted sustainability and importance of knowledge and information.

This will be a good reference book for this area and it is valuable for project managers, academia and others as they will understand how to do things better through the mitigation of the supply chain ‘bull whip’ effect.

Leading and Managing the Lean Management Process
By Gene Fliedner
RRP $36.95
Published by Business Expert Press (purchase online)

Prabesh Aryal
Prabesh Aryal is the associate director at FHI360 in Nepal and the representative for the Project Management Association Nepal (PMAN) at a regional and international level. He can be contacted at
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