Japanese Innovation: The machine that changed the world

A little while ago I read a book called The Machine That Changed the World, written in 1990 as a summary of a 5 year $5m MIT research project into the global automobile market. I discovered it while looking for the best description of the most sophisticated, long-term-successful manufacturing organisation & method (of complex technology) the world has ever produced, and I am tempted to believe that this book describes it. In fact I was so inspired I ended up writing my own notes and sharing them with some friends who are experts in manufacturing in order to understand what has happened since 1990. These additional insights are added at the bottom of the notes below. The “machine" in question is, in a word: “Toyota”, and it describes the emergence of their “lean manufacturing” … [Read more...]