The Machine that Changed the World

Lean Principles……….


Who are you when you get your B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago, a Master’s from Harvard in transportation systems, and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT?

You guessed it: James Womack, the one who coined the term “Lean Manufacturing” with co-author Daniel Jones in their landmark book, The Machine That Changed the World (1990). While Womack’s education is in political science, his doctoral dissertation and subsequent work was focused on comparative industrial policy in the United States, Germany, and Japan. That’s how he developed his extensive knowledge and relationships for writing his 1990 book and his follow-up book, Lean Thinking, in 1996.

Womack’s Lean Principles are as follows:

1. Value— Act on what’s important to the customer of the process.

2. Value stream— Understand which steps in the process add value and which don’t.

3. Flow— Keep the work moving at all times and eliminate…

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