I have now read Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management which was recently translated by Gemba Press. I have already started reading it a second time as I know I will gain an enormous amount reading it again (and maybe a third time).
I wanted to share my first impressions of the book. I will offer a more thorough impression of the book once I finish my second pass.
This book reads as though Mr. Ohno is speaking to you. I suppose the reason for this is because it is the documentation of a series of interviews he gave to the JMA!
With this said it is not the smoothest read you will ever lay your eyes on. I have a feeling this is largely due to translating it from Japanese to English. Also, and I could be way off here, I sense that Mr. Ohno was not the most “polished” speaker of his time. This is not to say he sounds unintelligent. It is just a feeling I got from listening to the way he carries on a conversation. He has a simple, yet very deep, way about him. It is quite mysterious when I stop and think about it.
The other thing that jumped out at me was how Mr. Ohno seemed to be a bit of a hard a##. He almost bragged about how he would yell at supervisors in front of their employees since he felt this would help them drive improvement down through their organization. I struggled with this aspect of him as it didn’t seem very respectful. Perhaps it is deeper than I realize now.
The last thing I will say is I only wish I could have met Mr. Ohno face to face. The knowledge and wisdom this man had in his head was simply beyond this world.
This book was not what I expected. It was better. If you are serious about really understanding the TPS (i.e. beyond the easy stuff like kanban, standard work, and heijunka) you need to buy it and read it at least 2 times.