Lean Library

The Office of Continuous Improvement has a library of Lean resources available for loan. Below is the list of resources that includes books, DVDs and workshop materials. These resources cover the basics of Lean, Lean culture building strategies, group facilitation, and specific Lean tools and concepts.

These resources are available for loan to all faculty, staff and students. Contact us at improvement@mtu.edu to check out a book. Feel free to stop by 136W Wadsworth Hall to take a look at the library in person. 

Lean Library Resources Available for Loan

Click on the title to see more information. Some link pages may have purchase information, but remember, all books are available for loan at no charge from the Office of Continuous Improvement!

5S for Operators:  5 Pillars of the Visual Workplace
Hiroyuki Hirano's five pillars of the visual workplace: sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain are the most fundamental and often overlooked aspects in continuous improvement initiatives. Together, these concepts form the framework of the 5S system.

Andy and Me: Crisis and Transformation on the Lean Journey
A business novel set in a failing New Jersey auto plant focusing on the tribulations of Tom Pappas, the plant manager of a struggling production plant. The reader learns that Toyota Production System is more than just a collection of tools; it entails a new way of thinking and behaving. Though Tom finds success — both in his plant and in his personal life — he learns from Andy that successful improvement is "endless and eternal."  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Beyond Change Management: Advanced Strategies for Today's Transformational Leaders
About the interaction of leadership style, mindset, and the change process-revolutionizes leaders' approach to transformational change. You'll also get: ready-to-use worksheets, questionnaires, and guidelines.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Business Officer Magazine
February 2013 edition with Dining Services article

The Change Agents' Handbook: A Survival Guide for Quality Improvement Champions
A quick reference for leaders / facilitators in quality improvement and lean methods.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
The author takes the reader from Austria, where an emergency checklist saved a drowning victim who had spent half an hour underwater, to Michigan, where a cleanliness checklist in intensive care units virtually eliminated a type of deadly hospital infection. Explaining how checklists actually work to prompt striking and immediate improvements. The checklist revolution flows into fields well beyond medicine, from disaster response to investment banking, skyscraper construction, and businesses of all kinds.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

The Complete Lean Enterprise: Value Stream Mapping for Administrative and Office Processes
This book offers a step-by-step approach to applying lean initiatives to the administrative and office environment. It's a must read for leaders looking to improve their production support activities within their order-to-cash value stream.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

The Consultant's Tool Kit
Written and field-tested by practicing consultants, The Consultant’s Tool Kit will save consultants both time and money-as it makes their work with clients much more effective. Each tool or activity is designed to solve a common consulting problem.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Creating a Lean Culture
It shows you how to implement a transformation that cannot fail by developing a culture that will have all your stakeholders involved in the process and invested in the outcome. It will teach you how to build success from the top down and the bottom up at the same time. --Elizabeth Wohlford

Critical Chain
"Critical Chain," a gripping fast-paced business novel, does for Project Management what Eli Goldratt's other novels have done for Production and Marketing.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools
This miniature guide focuses on the essence of critical thinking concepts and tools.  It provides a shared concept of critical thinking to improve learning in any content area.

The Deming Dimension
The book begins with a first-rate historical perspective and then goes on to explain the basic tenets of the Deming philosophy, including such topics as The Fourteen Points, The Deadly Diseases, The Obstacles, and the System of Profound Knowledge (updated shortly before Deming's death in 1993).  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Deming's Profound Changes: When Will the Sleeping Giant Awaken?
Shows organization and technical managers how to change—using Deming's principles—in order to improve quality in delivered services and products and in employee satisfaction. Analyzes the flaws of Taylorism and Neo-Taylorism— with point-by-point comparison with Deming's philosophy. For Executive and Technical Managers (all industries); Quality Managers and Practitioners; Quality, Productivity, Organizational Development Consultants.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Dr. Deming: The American Who Taught the Japanese About Quality
Explains and showcases the Deming Management Method which is defined by traits such as how: quality leads to lower costs, most defects are caused by the system, buy from vendors committed to quality, fear leads to disaster, and how to work with suppliers.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Drive:  The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us
The secret to high performance and satisfaction - at work, at school, and at home - is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.  This book examines three elements of true motivation and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action.

Easier, Simpler, Faster.  Systems Strategy for Lean IT

Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute
Explains that empowerment is not "giving power to people." Rather, it is "releasing the knowledge, experience, and motivation they already have."  --Elizabeth Wohlford

The Energy to Lead: The Thermodynamics of Leadership
Explains and gives great examples of how the basic laws of thermodynamics parallel good leadership behaviors.

Everything I Know About Lean I Learned in First Grade
A simple explanation of Lean principles and definitions told as a story about the author’s visit to school on his daughter’s first day in first grade. The author is very enthusiastic and uses everyday examples and analogies for every point, so this is an easy read. I recommend this book to people who have no background in Lean.  --Ruth Archer

A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance
This book not only provides the tools, but also teaches you how to find the root causes underlying your inefficiencies so you can eliminate them permanently. It will enable you to immediately improve personal productivity while developing the skills needed for continuous improvement.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Feeding the Zircon Gorilla and other team building activities

Four Days with Dr. Deming: A Strategy for Modern Methods of Management
Dr. W. Edwards Deming, the legendary master of managing for quality whose techniques helped propel Japan into its postwar economic boom, delivered his management message in the form of four-day seminars. Now you can experience the wisdom of his seminars with this unique book.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Gemba Kaizen

Gemba Walks

Getting the Right Things Done: A Leader's Guide to Planning and Execution

Demonstrates how strategy deployment can help leaders harness the full power of Lean.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Getting to Lean: Transformational Change Management
This book is important for any organization that wishes to create a new status quo in all aspects of the organization.  Miller talks about the Whole-System which includes every aspect of the operation of the business: internal assets and liabilities, external customers, social systems and identifying the value stream.  The ideas in this book are targeted to the organization that wants (or needs) a complete makeover from top to bottom, as opposed to using select Lean tools for targeted improvements.  A detailed discussion is provided on the phases of change from Discovery to Dreaming to Designing the new organization.  A very challenging and inspiring book.  --Mary FogelsingerHuss

Group Facilitation Methods
This is a book from a workshop by The Institute of Cultural Affairs

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean
Reveals the most critical lessons learned over the authors' combined 30-plus years of exploring the lean highways. The book's 10 chapters cover lean principles and thinking, lean leadership moves,theroadmap for lean transformation, common pitfalls of lean journeys, building an operating system, lean accounting, lean material management, lean in service organizations, and how individuals can apply lean to improve themselves.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

How to De-Junk Your Life: Keys to Taking Control, Getting Organized and Getting It All Done
Author uses about 70 pages to make his point with each chapter focusing on a specific aspect. You will learn a major key point: J.A.K.E. = Junk Always Kills Effectiveness.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Human Side of Change, The: A Practical Guide to Organization Redesign

Ice Cream Maker, The: An Inspiring Tale About Making Quality the Key Ingredient in Everything You Do
The author uses a story about an ice cream manufacturer's struggle to survive as a tool to talk about quality.  The plant manager of the ice cream company has been told his factory will be closed if he can't increase its profitability.  He reaches out to an old friend who is a manager at Natural Foods, to find out why they won't stock his ice cream.  The friend takes him on a quality journey involving listening, enriching, and optimizing.  This book is an excellent, short, and very readable story that helps you see how all the pieces of a quality program fit together.  --Ruth Archer

The Idea Generator: Quick and Easy Kaizen

The Innovator's Toolkit
Written and presented in an easy-to-use reference format, the book helps users understand why, when, and how to apply each technique for maximum benefits and results.   --Elizabeth Wohlford

Integrating Kanban with MRPII
If you manage inventory,youprobablyuseMRPII, a system based on a push method that embraces work and purchase order execution. MRPII helps you plan and integrate data relevant to your entire organization. But, when you have shifts in demand, you have to: 1) Realign and cancel hundreds of open manufacturing and purchase orders, and then 2) issue new orders.  --ElizabethWohlford

It's Our Ship: The No-Nonsense Guide to Leadership
(Book on CD)

Kaizen Event Planner: Achieving Rapid Improvement in Office, Service, and Technical Environments, The

Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success

Leader's Handbook: A Guide to Inspiring Your People and Managing the Daily Workflow, The

Leading Change: An Action Plan From the World's Foremost Expert on Business Leadership

Leading Change, Overcoming Chaos: A Seven-Stage Process for Making Change Succeed in Your Organization

Lean Accounting Guidebook: How to Create a World-Class Accounting Department, The

The Lean Enterprise Memory Jogger

Lean for Dummies
Lean for Dummies is an excellent resource that gives the reader not only a deep dive into everything Lean, but also a great quick reference for specific topics. The book was written so that every chapter has a specific topic and each chapter can be read independently of the other chapters as the user finds need.  This book was used for the basis of developing the Student Process Improvement Coordinator training course. --ElizabethWohlford

Lean Higher Education: Increasing Value and Performance of University Processes

Lean Human Resources: Redesigning HR Processes for a Culture of Continuous Improvement

Lean IT: Enabling and Sustaining Your Lean Transformation

Lean Office: Demystified
Lean Office Demystified is a great book when you are looking to begin your lean journey, especially if you are working in an office setting.  The book breaks down lean so it is easy for any reader to understand.  It gives you a clear definition of what lean is and isn't and covers a wide variety of lean tools.  The book also has a great appendix with different audits, visual controls, and activities for the reader to participate in while reading through the book.  I would recommend this book for someone who is new to lean or someone who wants to brush up on their lean knowledge.  --KayleeBetzinger

Lean Office: Demystified II

Lean Office and Service Simplified

Lean Production Simplified
Provides a comprehensive insider's view of lean manufacturing.  The author helps the reader grasp the system as a whole and the factors that animate it by organizing the book around an image of a house of lean production.

Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together

Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation
This book is the follow-up to the best seller "The Machine that Changed the World,” and expands on the fundamental principles of lean operations. In “Lean Thinking” Part One, the authors expand on the concepts that help the corporations understand and specify value, order and streamline all the processes that add value in the value stream, and make value flow. In Part Two, the authors take these principles and teach you how to apply them by using examples and case histories. In Part Three, the ideas go beyond the process, to the enterprise, and describe how to work toward connecting all your value-creating activities from start to finish… whatever your process is. This book is a good resource for those familiar with Lean principles who are looking to take their program to the next level.  --MaryFogelsinger-Huss

Lean TransformationThis book is a must-read for anyone considering turning their organization into a lean enterprise.  It's a very fast-paced book split into four parts that outline the strategy behind going Lean, the six fundamentals of a lean enterprise, how to effectively spread lean throughout an enterprise, and sustaining the lean transformation.  The authors, Bruce Henderson and Jorge Larco, do a great job providing examples of past successes and failures to illustrate the many dynamics of what makes a lean transformation successful.  The book shows time and time again that anyone who is not willing to get on the lean bandwagon will get left behind.  I would recommend this to anyone who is in the process of starting up a new business or people who want to make their business more efficient but don't exactly know how.  Regardless of the reader's level of knowledge about lean, they should find this book extremely insightful. --Nate Hood

Lean Turnaround: How Business Leaders Use Lean Principles to Create Value and Transform Their Company, The

Learning Organizations: Developing Cultures for Tomorrow's Workplace

Learning to See
Value-stream maps are the blueprints for lean transformations and Learning to See is an easy-to-read, step-by-step instruction manual that teaches this valuable tool to anyone, regardless of his or her background.

The Machine that changed the World
Provides enduring and essential guidance to managers and leaders in every industry seeking to transform traditional enterprises into exemplars of lean success.

Managing at the Speed of Change: How Resilient Managers Succeed and Prosper Where Others Fail

Managing Change: Practical Strategies for Competitive Advantage

Managing The Unknowable: Strategic Boundaries Between Order and Chaos in Organizations

Managing to Learn: Using the A3 management process to solve problems, gain agreement, mentor, and lead

Memory Jogger 2:  Tools for Continuous Improvement and Effective Planning
Critical tools are explained using real-life examples from all types of organizations with problems similar to yours, making them easy for everyone to understand and apply.

Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking - Concepts & Tools, The

New Lean Pocket Guide XL: Tools for the Elimination of Waste!, The

Open Book Management: The Coming Business Revolution

Organize Your Office: Simple Routines for Managing Your Workspace

Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions
This book uses a fable about Fred, a curious penguin, and his concern about his colony's melting iceberg to illustrate the 8 Step Process of Successful Change by Kotter in a way that is easy to understand.  In the book, the penguins make change happen by creating a sense of urgency surrounding their melting iceberg, forming a team, developing a vision, communicating the need for change, empowering the colony, producing "wins," persisting, and creating a new culture that can accept change for the better.  It's a quick and easy read, and is recommended for anyone at any level of their organization that deals with change or managing change.  More resources for discussion and training based on the book can be found online . --Megan Johnson

Out of The Crisis

Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence, The

The Power of Innovative Thinking

The Power of Leo: The Revolutionary Process For Achieving Extraordinary Results

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Secrets of Facilitation: The S.M.A.R.T. Guide to Getting Results with Groups, The

Shortcuts to Creating & Maintaining Organized Files & Records

The Spirit of Kaizen
A proven system for implementing small, incremental steps that can have big impact on reaching your goals.  Filled with practical tips and ready-to-use tools for managers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.  The essential handbook for changing the world.

Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity
In a nutshell, this book is about systems. This book is written for those thinkers and practitioners who have come to realize that while the whole is becoming more and more interdependent parts display choice and behave independently, and that paradoxes are the most potent challenge of emergent realities.  --ElizabethWohlford

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born.  It's Grown.  Here's How.
Whether you’re coaching soccer or teaching a child to play the piano, writing a novel or trying to improve your golf swing, this revolutionary book shows you how to grow talent by tapping into a newly discovered brain mechanism.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Ten Steps to a Learning Organization
Ten Steps maps the critical path to renewal and mobilizes people's unique talents.-- Focuses on the key element for organizational survival -- adapting to change-- Full of practical information and tool for transformation.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Theory of Constraints
Walks you through the crucial stages of a continuous program: the five steps of focusing; the process of change; how to prove effect-cause-effect; and how to invent simple solutions to complex problems.   --Elizabeth Wohlford

Thinking About Quality: Progress, Wisdom, and the Deming Philosophy
An end to the misunderstandings of W. Edwards Deming's work--the book that finally provides a relationship between his ideas and the way businesses should be run.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Today's Lean Leader: A Practical Guide to Applying Lean Six Sigma and Emerging Technologies to Leadership and Supervision

Today's Lean! Learning About and Identifying Waste - Pocket Guide

Today's Lean! Using 5S to Organize and Standardize Areas and Files - Pocket Guide
The Today’s Lean! series of books provide: Concise content on a one main Lean or Six Sigma tool or concept, Numerous case studies, worksheets, and examples from all types of industries, Availability as a pocket guide or ebook, A standard format, An avenue to update content immediately via your feedback and input (via ebook updates), An inspiration for you to implement something similar.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Toyota Kata Building Competitive Advantage with Lean: University of Michigan Improvement-Kata & Coaching-Kata Handbook 

Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Results
Drawing on six years of research into Toyota's employee-management routines, Toyota Kata examines and elucidates, for the first time, the company's organizational routines--called kata--that power its success with continuous improvement and adaptation.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production
Taiichi Ohno--inventor of the Toyota Production System and Lean manufacturing--shares the genius that sets him apart as one of the most disciplined and creative thinkers of our time. Combining his candid insights with a rigorous analysis of Toyota's attempts at Lean production, Ohno's book explains how Lean principles can improve any production endeavor.   --Elizabeth Wohlford

Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer, The
This book is a great read for those who are interested in learning more about the culture and management principles that allowed the Toyota Production System (TPS, or Lean) to evolve.  The book provides historical information on Toyota and emphasizes the leadership culture started by the Toyoda family.  The book also differentiates between the "Toyota Way" (the culture) and TPS, where the Toyota Way is the set of principles that allow TPS to flourish.  Additionally, the book includes many case studies to demonstrate the Toyota Way principles and show what TPS/Lean is and is not. --Megan Johnson

Toyota Way Fieldbook, The
A companion to the international bestseller The Toyota Way. The Toyota Way Fieldbook builds on the philosophical aspects of Toyota's operating systems by detailing the concepts and providing practical examples for application that leaders need to bring Toyota's success-proven practices to life in any organization.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Understanding A3 Thinking: A Critical Component of Toyota's PDCA Management System
Demonstrates how dynamic A3 Thinking can positively impact corporate culture. Winner of a Shingo Research and Professional Publication Prize  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Who Moved My Cheese
This book is a great read for all ages and pertains to everyone no matter how old.  It's easy enough for a younger reader to understand, but the message is relatable for all.  It gives great examples of how we must adapt to change when change is inevitable and really makes you understand how change can be a good thing.  I liked that there were examples of how one adapts well to change and how one doesn't adapt at all.  It comes across very clearly that if you aren't willing to adapt to change, the you'll get left behind.  This book would add value to someone who may be considering a life change (new job, relationship, re-location, etc.).  It would also be great for an organization who is thinking of implementing improvements or change.  It will give them an idea of how change can affect people in different ways. --Kaylee Betzinger

Womack on Lean Management: A Live Video Seminar
In "Womack on Lean Management," you'll hear management thinker, author, and LEI founder James P. Womack, Ph.D., explain why and how managers and executives must think and act in new and different ways as part of a new management method called "lean management." Two – hour long seminar.  --Elizabeth Wohlford

Working With Difficult People
Top communications consultant author details specific techniques for handling difficult people you work with. Easy-to-follow scenarios for every situation are featured in this handy guide.  --Elizabeth Wohlford


The Office of Continuous Improvement is always interested in expanding its Lean Library.  Please send recommendations for Lean resources to improvement@mtu.edu.