While most business methodologies are found in periodicals, news sources or journals, All I Need to Know About Manufacturing is a novel, written with the intent of contrasting traditional and low-waste approaches to manufacturing.
We meet three characters who draw our attention for the duration of the story. Joe is the expert in the old way; Sandy is one of his manufacturing engineers; and Ralph is a worker in a lean factory.
A Lean Message to Convey Lean Ideas
The novel’s function is to convey basic concepts of manufacturing and production efficiencies to a wider audience than those typically working the factory floor. After reading this short book, there is little wonder those endorsing it recommend it to anyone making any product. It makes its points clearly and succinctly, with little waste of its own, in 90 pages.
Summary of Lessons Learned
Early in the day, Sandy is proud to show Ralph, an outsider, how his boss works. They watch as Joe begins to conduct a driveway full of volunteers who have arrived to assist in making shelves for his garage.
The approach to the task is a large-scale mass production setup in the backyard. At first there is a level of anticipation. Everyone has come to learn something from Joe. But Sandy soon finds there is more to gain by listening to his new friend Ralph as he comments throughout the day.
Ralph’s observations center on the inefficiencies, waste and poor quality controls of Joe’s leadership. At each opportunity he offers better ideas, which make more sense as the clock ticks and the workday progresses. Sandy defends Joe initially, but myriad problems eventually culminate in a change of view at the end of the day after illusions of quality, volunteer morale, and basic dignity vanish under Joe’s command.
The reader could come to an alternative judgment on the scenario but little room remains to do so. The story is quaint, but incisive enough to make clear the need for a current approach.
SOURCE: Miller, W.B., Schenk, V.L. (2004). All I Need to Know about Manufacturing I Learned in Joe’s Garage. Bayrock Press.