Good Reads: The Work of Management

The Work of Management

 A Daily Path to Sustainable Improvement – By Jim Lancaster, CEO, Lantech

This is not a book about exotic AMT (Advanced Manufacturing Technologies) or ‘shiny objects’.  It’s about the real world of practical innovation, adaptation, and survival while managing the ups and downs of manufacturing.  And to do it, the book shares how the leaders of one company put foundations in place that enabled the integration of people, processes & technology to achieve ongoing business success.   The book is about Lantech – a mid-sized Kentucky-based industrial equipment manufacturer that has inspired thousands of leaders & managers to include in their culture commitments to experimentation, CI learning, and Lean thinking.

Those who attended North America’s largest Annual AME Lean conferences over the years know the value conveyed when a Lean practitioner-leader openly shares objectives, successes, failures and lessons learned. Jim Lancaster, Lantech’s current CEO, has been doing this for years and his new book shares their story – which is still unfolding in 2017.  The roots of Lantech’s journey go back well before their story first became widely known when Jim Womack and Dan Jones devoted a large part of Chapter 6 to Lantech in their ground-breaking book, Lean Thinking.  It was this book that sent Lean globally viral in 1996.   

Brian Bush, George Koenigsaecker and I as conference organizers, were always inspired by practitioners who openly shared their work – and were anxious to talk with participants to learn even more.  What Jim Lancaster has provided, and his father Pat before him – was a first glimpse for many of what Just-In-Time, and the new world of Lean, could look like.  They opened their doors to share their experiences and listen to the observations of others. It’s a powerful approach to see, hear, and experience new thinking. It enabled us all to move forward faster.

The Work of Management, provides ‘the full Lantech story’ now that Jim Lancaster has taken over from his father, Pat. The book shares the story of a company that initially triumphed – and then stumbled badly – before finding the key to sustainable improvement – in a daily management system.

They learned that by maintaining processes before improving them, and implementing ‘leader standard work’, they could improve their margins like never before.  This has enabled them to become the global competitor they are as they now compete against much larger companies around the world. Jim Lancaster believes he is sharing, with leaders and managers at all levels, the details of a method that can be implemented successfully in any organization.

Jim Womack has followed the ‘Lantech Story’ for decades, and sees The Work of Management providing two things at once. On one level, it illustrates one company’s pursuit of a sustainable approach for stable transitions to a successful future.  And on a deeper level, Jim believes “It describes a method you can use to create your own lean management system in any type of business based on daily and weekly management for stable performance”.

This is an LEI published book:  In the US order directly from LEI:                                        In Canada: LEI materials distributed through our OCAPT friends at Hint:  If new to LEI, check out their website above:  Take a lunch because there is a huge number of Lean resources on all Lean topics to be mined.