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The book is a first hand account of how Toyota Motor Company started after WW2 to become the leading manufacturer in the world. Through the book Taiichi Ohno highlight facts that will be contrary to the belief held by many western managers about the Toyota Production System (TPS): Toyota actually had severe labour resistance and strikes, the sole goal is to reduce costs by reducing labour (no lifetime contracts) and the burden of carrying inventory is not just shifted to suppliers.
From the principle of reducing waste in manufacturing Taiichi Ohno goes on to explain how many of the methods and procedures arose that are now synonymos with TPS (e.g. JIT, Kanban, flow, SMED). People already familiar with these concepts will appreciate the explanation of how they started and complement each other.
The book left an impression of Taiichi Ohno as a person deeply devoted to his country and countrymen, and that this is the source of his passion for manufacturing excellence. Although nationalistic he openly express his admiration for early American industry and include lengthy quotes from Henry Ford and Alfred Sloan, but he also highlight that TPS in many ways is the exact opposite of what Henry Ford's system of mass production has been turned into.
Among business books this is definitely one of my favourites and the insights and wisdom of Taiichi Ohno goes far 'beyond large-scale production.'