The Gold Mine
by Freddy Ballé and Michael Ballé
Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award recipient
The Gold Mine deftly weaves together the technical and human pieces of implementing lean manufacturing in an engaging story that readers will find both compelling and instructive. Authors Freddy and Michael Ballé have produced the first integrated and systematic approach to a set of ideas that have maximized value and minimized waste throughout the world.
At the heart of The Gold Mine is Bob Woods, a curmudgeonly sensei coaxed out of retirement by his son Mike to help boyhood friend Phil Jenkinson save his struggling company. Despite terrific products and a backlog of orders, Phil’s company cannot generate enough cash from its operations to pay its bills. And so Mike enlists Bob to help his pal fix this crisis.
The Gold Mine presents all the key lean principles, ranging from well-known ideas such as pull and flow, to lesser-known yet equally important principles such as jidoka and heijunka. The book presents lean as a system—using a realistic story to show how the principles are interrelated and how they lead to useful tools such as kanban or 5S. Freddy Ballé draws from his authority of one of Europe’s preeminent lean veterans, bringing his knowledge to life in the context of a dramatic human story of managers and employees struggling to apply these tools and ideas in a successful turnaround.
“Mastery of the technical details of lean thinking is never enough. A transformation will fail without the most important element: the engagement of the people doing the work,” says publisher James Womack. “The Gold Mine is the first book to comprehensively introduce all the lean tools by means of a vivid personal story showing how hearts and minds are won over. I can’t recommend it highly enough as a way to teach your people the key lean tools that always lead to success while also teaching, in the words of Bob Woods, that ‘it’s all about people.”
“Reading The Gold Mine is like eavesdropping on a sensei dispensing gems to a client,” says co-publisher Daniel Jones. “The Ballés draw from a remarkable perspective of wisdom and experience. Readers, especially those individuals working on the shop floor, will gain revelation and inspiration by living through the experiences of the hero. Managers and executives just beginning a lean transformation will learn valuable insights about how to sidestep the technical and people problems that lay ahead. And experienced lean thinkers will discover fresh insights about overcoming resistance to change.”