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Beyond the textbooks

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Well, in management, there are textbooks. And then there are real life instances. Often, they there is no overlap between the two! Lessons in Lean Management: 53 Ideas to Transform Services is a book replete with real life instances that can be applied to any situation in the services sector.

In his usual style author Debashis Sarkar (this is his sixth book) has written this book outlining the ideas distinctly in a serial order. The jacket of the book says “Lean is a set of practices that maximises customer value by minimising waste and creating the perfect process for your organisation.” Well, there are so many ideas to choose from, that even if the reader implements a combination of the best suited ideas, he or she is bound to see a difference in the way things were. If these become common practice then, there could be a point where wastes could be minimised and the organisation could be leaner.

Lean management, even though a relatively new idea, has been widely adopted across the globe, thanks to Toyota, it is a practice that has gained wide acceptance in the manufacturing sector. The author conceived this book to expand the horizons of lean management beyond manufacturing. Also, it is presented in a manner that any person who is uninitiated in the concept of lean management can also easily comprehend and implement the techniques.


The 53 ideas are divided into four sections:

1: Philosophies

2: People

3: Process

4: Problem Solving

Even though the reader is encouraged to read the entire book, the sections enable him to go straight to the section which will help him with the problem at hand. It does not mean that the ideas can be applied only when there is a problem, they could be implemented under various situations. The interesting part is that many of the insights and tools provided in the book have been developed and successfully implemented by the author himself, who has several years of experience in management processes, and is globally known for his work in the area of Lean Management.

According to Sarkar, Lean has to be driven as a business strategy in any service organisation, and not another improvement methodology. He goes on with the lessons, beginning with the difference in adopting Lean in the manufacturing and services sector, to the art of observation, to engaging the middle management fully, and to the applicability of Little’s Law in Lean Management. He also devote some space to the DEB-LOREXTM Model, which is created by him to facilitate Lean transformation in orgranisations.

Naturally, with 53 ideas, it would be impossible for a reader to retain all the material in one reading. The ideal situation would be to keep the book handy and make it a go-to book whenever a new strategy needs to be implemented. In fact, within the introduction itself, the author mentions several advantages of adopting Lean. There is something for everyone, whichever level of management he might be. The figures and tables that go along with the text further elucidate each lesson.

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