Book Review: Kaizen Express

Kaizen Express: Fundamentals for Your Lean Journey Kaizen Express: Fundamentals for Your Lean Journey by Toshiko Narusawa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kaizen Express from the Lean Enterprise Institute is an interesting book. The book focuses on the basic fundamentals of Lean and should be interesting to anybody wanting to reflect more on the principles.

I really like the book’s drawings and its focus on how to implement things like standardized work, visual management, jidoka, flow, and others. I want to emphasize a strength of this book is these concepts are not just defined like a glossary or a single paragraph but have a few pages dedicated to exploring the thinking and practicalities to operationalizing them.

Some lessons that stand out are the definition of three kinds of muda, the idea of islands, auto-eject devices, “A type pull” and “B type pull”, visual management, and zone control. The forms at the back of the book were interesting to see how similar or different to what my organization uses.

I do have some criticisms of the book. The biggest issue I have about this book is the lack of PDCA mentioned. While I learned TPS and TQC were developed separately by Toyota, PDCA is usually bundled into all Lean materials at this point. For a book about the basic fundamentals, this seems like a glaring omission to me.

I also need to discuss that this book is written in Japanese on the left side of the page and English on the right. I do not have major problems with this but found it to be slightly distracting – especially when some of the page layouts are in the middle of the page. It is quaint to see the Japanese writing but I do not see this as value added to me.

Overall, this book has a lot of gems in it and I would recommend it. I see this as a very handy quick reference book.

Conflict of interest disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes.

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Filed under Book Review, Change Management, Improve With Lean, Visual Language

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