Category Archives: History

All postst related to the history of lean, management, manufacturing, and any other topic covered in this blog.

Organize Your Production Sequence – 1: Project Shop

There are different ways to organize your shop floor. You surely know the flow shop and the job shop. There is also a project shop (with many variants of names). While the flow shop is in many cases the ultimate goal, each shop has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at them in more detail, starting with the project shop. Continue reading Organize Your Production Sequence – 1: Project Shop

150th Anniversary of the Birth of Sakichi Toyoda

Sakichi Toyoda
Sakichi Toyoda

Exactly 150 years ago, on February 14, 1867, Sakichi Toyoda (豊田 佐吉 Toyoda Sakichi)  was born. He is known in Japan as the King of Inventors (which is probably a bit of an exaggeration), father of the Japanese Industrial Revolution, and also the founder of the Toyota industrial empire. Time to take a look back in history on his life. Continue reading 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Sakichi Toyoda

Interview on the David Pakman Show on the Future of Manufacturing

david-pakman-show-logoRecently I had the exciting opportunity to be interviewed on the David Pakman Show on American TV, where I talked about the future of manufacturing, especially in America. Our subjects of discussion ranged from “bringing jobs back,” to the presidential election, to the carbon tax and many more current issues. Here’s the full video and also the transcript: Continue reading Interview on the David Pakman Show on the Future of Manufacturing

The History of Manufacturing – Part 4: Toyota and Lean

Toyota LogoMost of our prosperity and wealth is based on our ability to manufacture faster, better, and cheaper than ever before.To announce the publication of my first book Faster, Better, Cheaper” in the History of Manufacturing: From the Stone Age to Lean Manufacturing and Beyond here is the fourth and last  post of a series with a brief version of the History of Manufacturing. In this post I would like to talk about Toyota and its Toyota Production System, the archetype of lean Production, and also about computers and automation. Continue reading The History of Manufacturing – Part 4: Toyota and Lean

The History of Manufacturing – Part 3: Luddism to Henry Ford

Ford assembly line 1913Most of our prosperity and wealth is based on our ability to manufacture faster, better, and cheaper than ever before. To announce the publication of my first book Faster, Better, Cheaper” in the History of Manufacturing: From the Stone Age to Lean Manufacturing and Beyond here is the third of a four post series where  I would like to explore this story and tell you a brief version of the History of Manufacturing. In this third post I would like to talk about the social problems caused by the industrial revolution and its outburst of Luddism before moving on to the achievements of Henry Ford and his assembly line, but also how his firm was overtaken by GM. Continue reading The History of Manufacturing – Part 3: Luddism to Henry Ford

The History of Manufacturing – Part 2: Middle Ages to Industrial Revolution

Medieval BlacksmithMost of our prosperity and wealth is based on our ability to manufacture faster, better, and cheaper than ever before. To announce the publication of my first book Faster, Better, Cheaper” in the History of Manufacturing: From the Stone Age to Lean Manufacturing and Beyond here is the second of a four post series where  I would like to explore this story and tell you a brief version of the History of Manufacturing. In this second post I would like to explore how the middle ages prepared the industrial revolution and the appearance of the steam engine. Continue reading The History of Manufacturing – Part 2: Middle Ages to Industrial Revolution

The History of Manufacturing – Part 1: Prehistory to Antiquity

Roman Flour MillMost of our prosperity and wealth is based on our ability to manufacture faster, better, and cheaper than ever before. To announce the publication of my first book Faster, Better, Cheaper” in the History of Manufacturing: From the Stone Age to Lean Manufacturing and Beyond, I would like to start a four post series where I explore this story and tell you a brief version of the History of Manufacturing. In this first post I would like to talk about prehistory, division of labor, mechanization, and manufacturing during antiquity. Continue reading The History of Manufacturing – Part 1: Prehistory to Antiquity

A Critical Look at Industry 4.0

Modern Man with BackgroundOne of the hottest buzzwords right now (at least in Germany) is Industry 4.0. However, it’s a bit fuzzy what Industry 4.0 is, exactly. In this post I would like to talk about Industry 4.0. This includes very little about all the promises of a wonderful future – you can read that elsewhere. Instead, I will try to give you the big picture. I will talk about how Industry 4.0 came into existence, why it is so popular, what the true current benefit of Industry 4.0 is, and why you should pay attention to clothes. Continue reading A Critical Look at Industry 4.0