Taiichi Ohno’s Book “Workplace Management” Returns to Print in 2007

Almost two years ago I set out to read Taiichi Ohno’s recently reissued book Gemba Keiei (Workplace Management) in Japanese and summarize one chapter per week. My goal was to have all 37 chapters posted here by September 2005. Well no plan goes according to plan and here we are two years later and still five chapters away from that goal.
I wondered what I would do to get my weekly Ohno fix after finishing this project since unlike Shigeo Shingo, Taiichi Ohno did not write many books. To be exact, Ohno did not actually write any books, as The Toyota Production System and Just in Time for Today and Tomorrow were both ghost-written (Toyota Production System) or co-written (Just In Time) by Setsuo Mito. We learned that Gemba Keiei was actually the transcript of a series of interviews rather than a text Ohno wrote, which explains a lot about the warm and familiar tone of the book. More on that later.
We are happy to announce that Taiichi Ohno’s Book “Workplace Management” will return to print in 2007. Gemba Research LLC has obtained the translation and publishing rights for this classic. We will make this book available again to students of kaizen, the Toyota Production System, Lean manufacturing and other brands of continuous improvement. I want to give special thanks to the team from Gemba’s Japan office for all of their hard work in making it possible to bring Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management back in print in 2007.
Taiichi Ohno (1912 – 1990) was the architect of the Toyota Production System. Most of what is known as Lean manufacturing today traces its origin through Taiichi Ohno and the work done at Toyota during and immediately after his tenure there.
Taiichi Ohno’s book Gemba Keiei (Workplace Management) is a delight because not only does it explain some of the ideas and tools that make up the Toyota Production System, it gives context to the development of some of these ideas, and the basic values and philosophies that underly them. Without the polish of a ghost-writer, the book has the feeling of a raw gem, one that requires that you stare long and hard into it before you can appreciate its true beauty.
Check back here for progress on the translation, details on how to pre-order your copy of Taiichi Ohno’s book, and news on other books that we will publish.

9 Comments

  1. John Hunter

    November 1, 2006 - 9:43 am

    Great news. Great blog. Thanks for everything.

  2. Norbert Winklareth

    November 1, 2006 - 11:21 am

    I agree with Mr. Hunter this is great news and your blog is also excellent. I look forward to purchasing this book when you publish it. Thank you for doing this.
    I would like to take this time to suggest that you publish another book at the same time, which is your commentary on the book. I have enjoyed and learned a lot from your two year journey through this book. Your blog postings would form the basis for a nice little monogram on Ohno’s book.

  3. Chris

    November 2, 2006 - 2:51 am

    Hi Jon et al
    I have to agree with Norbert, the commentary you provided on this blog adds much to Ohno’s book. As I have told you before I have copied all your commentaries into my own personal file and read it to give me inspiration and as a reference.
    I strongly recommend you publish your commentary along side the new translation.
    Best Regards & Thanks for a very inspiring Blog
    Chris

  4. Jon Miller

    November 2, 2006 - 5:59 am

    Thanks for the encouragement. When the time comes I will look for a way to package the Gemba Keiei commentary as a companion to the translated book.

  5. Joe Wilson

    November 2, 2006 - 6:20 am

    That is great news. Best of luck in the process and keep up the fantastic work. I’ll be one of your biggest promoters when the book goes on sale.

  6. Eric H

    November 5, 2006 - 7:02 am

    So, uh, Jon, can we pre-order it, or do you plan to publish a huge batch of books, store them in a warehouse, and hope to sell them all? *cough*

  7. Viki

    December 2, 2006 - 7:49 pm

    So totally agree with all of the above ! I am two days old to this blog and am still in big time absorb mode ! Will definitely second the idea of a commentary / field book to supplement the translated version. Am based in Singapore, so hopefully Borders or Kinoukonniya should carry the book ?

  8. Kathleen Fasanella

    December 4, 2006 - 8:54 am

    Just checking back to see if anything had been posted with regard to publication date OR if it were possible to pre-order the book.
    With the holidays coming, this would be a dandy gift to give and/or get . Please consider accepting pre-orders a priority in time for holiday shopping as well as giving the rest of us time to announce it on our blogs. I’ve been waiting to announce it pending acceptance of pre-orders. Thanks.

  9. Jon Miller

    December 6, 2006 - 5:45 pm

    Thanks for checking back Kathleen.
    We will make an announcement next week of further details on the publishing of Workplace Management in 2007.