11 Best Lean Manufacturing Books to Read This Year and 2020
21 Sep

11 Best Lean Manufacturing Books to Read This Year and 2020

Are you finding it hard to understand Lean blogs and podcasts? One of the best resources to getting a full understanding of Lean is through Lean Manufacturing Books. For this year and 2020, the 11 Best Lean Manufacturing Books to read are discussed

Get 5S – Kaizen Guide to Organize the Workplace for Flow

While Lean manufacturing concepts are simple, theoretically, they are harder in practice. This reason makes it essential to have a better understanding of Lean Manufacturing concepts and principles. The idea behind the Best Lean Manufacturing Books to read this year and 2020 is to have a better foundation of Lean and provide suitable solutions whenever challenges arise.

So, whether you are new to lean manufacturing or an expert, reading these books recommendations are perfect for all aspects of lean manufacturing. These recommended books range from top classics suitable for foundational topics to contemporary and practical guides for top lean management methods and principles.

These books would be good addition to recommended Supply Chain, Logistics, Procurement and     Online Lean Six Sigma Courses for Supply Chain Professionals

11 Best Lean Manufacturing Books to read and deepen your understanding of Lean (click on heading or picture to purchase)

1.      The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer

The Toyota Way

Overall Rating: 4.7/5

The book “The Toyota Way” covers a whole lot on improving quality, speeding business processes, and reducing expenses in any industry. The automobile giant, Toyota, regularly delivers cars with high-quality and fewer defects compared to other manufacturers. The Toyota Way is amongst the first Lean Manufacturing Books to offer general explanations covering business philosophy and management principles behind Toyota’s global success.

Complete with organizations profiles and successfully implemented principles, this “The Toyota Way” shows every industry manager how to enhance its business processes. These approaches include:

  • Build quality into workplace systems
  • Discover low-cost but dependable substitutes to expensive new technology
  • Eliminate wasted resources and time
  • Production in small quantities
  • Turn every worker into a quality control inspector

Brian, M. –amazing book!

“Absolutely an amazing book! This book has changed my mindset of continuous improvement. This gave me great insight into the operational excellence Toyota has and values! Definitely recommend this book to anyone in Operations Management & Manufacturing!”

Best 5S – Kaizen Guide: Organizing the Workplace for Flow

2.      The Machine That Changed the World: The Story of Lean Production– Toyota’s Secret Weapon in the Global Car Wars That Is Now Revolutionizing World Industry

The Machine That Changed the World by James P. Womack

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

First published in 1990, the book covers Toyota’s growth from its half-size production compared to GM at the time, to becoming the world’s largest automaker twenty years later. It is one of the Lean Manufacturing Books classics and the first book to reveal the lean production system in Toyota’s road to success. The authors deliver an all-inclusive description of Toyota’s entire lean system, including the advantages of its mass production model that would eventually triumph.


Holden McGroin – Loved this book

“I love his book and bought another one for a relative. This is real research and reads less like management book but like a nonfiction story. I loved learning about the history of car manufacturers and how the business practices established by Ford and GM are why car dealers act the way they do in America. It is a disgrace. Japanese car dealers seem to do the right thing. Very enlightening about how they view their customers vs. how the Americans do.”

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3.      LEAN: Ultimate Collection – Lean Startup, Lean Analytics, Lean Enterprise, Kaizen, Six Sigma, Agile Project Management, Kanban, Scrum (Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Management, Running Lean) Kindle Edition

LEAN: Ultimate Collection - Lean Startup, Lean Analytics, Lean Enterprise, Kaizen, Six Sigma, Agile Project Management, Kanban, Scrum Kindle Edition
Overall Rating: 4.4/5

Using a straightforward common-sense approach, this Lean Manufacturing Book offers enduring and vital guidance to every industry manager looking for exemplar lean success through critical concepts. The Ultimate Collection offers comprehensive coverage of every essential component of Lean. These key components are all used within the context of Lean production system.

Jenny Flatoue – Definitely a valuable purchase!!

“I found this manual (or rather a set of manuals) to be comprehensive and super helpful in my journey to grow my products share of the market and improve its online and offline performance. I liked how it brings you the most important concepts that you will return to over-and-over while growing your business. Definitely, a must purchase.”

4.      Lean Production Simplified, Third Edition 3rd Edition

Lean Production Simplified,

Overall Rating: 4.2/5

Following its Shingo Prize-winning predecessors, the Lean Production Simplified delivers a clear structural overview alongside Lean tools for the production system. Amongst the best Lean Manufacturing Books to date, it offers a full insider’s view of Lean management. With images and illustrations to help readers grasp, the book describes critical Lean factors and eight kinds of waste. The third edition deepens and extends more case studies based on the experience of actual work. Also, you get:

  • Addressing just-in-time delivery of parts and products
  • Concept Explanations alongside Five S, visual management, and Total Productive Maintenance
  • Description into craft and mass production systems (notable contributions from Henry Ford and Frederick Winslow Taylor)
  • Examining the jidoka principle and hoshin planning
  • Illustration for the culture of Lean management

John Shook, Senior Advisor, Lean Enterprise Institute; President, TWI Network, Inc., Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA ―

“There is a need for a book exactly like this, and Pascal has the experience, knowledge, and passion for writing it. Pascal Dennis is one of many Westerners who, during the past 20 years, have gained firsthand experience with ‘Lean production’ or the Toyota Production System (TPS). At Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, one of Toyota’s early and successful efforts to transplant TPS outside the confines of Toyota City in Japan, Pascal received personalized mentoring from his trainer from Toyota City about each of the processes, systems, and philosophies explained in this book.”

5.      Creating a Lean Culture: Tools to Sustain Lean Conversions

Creating a Lean Culture

Overall Rating: 4.8/5

The top winner for 2006 SHINGO PRIZE for EXCELLENCE in MANUFACTURING RESEARCH amongst other Lean Manufacturing Books. The book “Creating a Lean Culture” aids lean leaders in achieving personal batch-to-lean transformation through its practical guides to implementing the sustainable lean process. The Lean Manufacturing Book also offers critical guidance into developing vital elements of a Lean management system, including daily accountability processes, leader standard work, managing key HR issues, maintaining a process focus, visual controls, and much more.

Burl M. Finkelstein – The best functional guide to lean

“I searched high and low for a book on Lean manufacturing to better understand its application and function. Too many authors go into theory and academic explanations or dialogs of Japanese words. This book was what I was looking for! I found this book so valuable that I made it required reading for my entire staff.”

6.      Learning to See: Value Stream Mapping to Add Value and Eliminate MUDA 1st Edition

Learning to See

Overall Rating: 4.2/5

Using plain language and with detailed drawings, this Lean Manufacturing Books describes everything you will require in creating an accurate current-state and future- state maps for products. With the amazing guide, you also get to turn current states into future state rapidly and sustainably. An explaining for tool and its discovery, alongside guidance on identifying essential products down to breaking implementation using easy steps is covered within this book.

Karen – Excellent book for workflow processes

“Excellent book for understanding not only what the workflow processes are, but also identifies the waste in the process. Great for working towards the lean six sigma approach in the workplace.”

7.      How to Implement Lean Manufacturing, Second Edition

How To Implement Lean Manufacturing

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

Providing Cutting-edge Lean manufacturing strategies, the thoroughly updated book discusses the latest trends alongside global case studies. The top Lean Manufacturing book also provides explanations on how to implement a powerful formula for eliminating waste, controlling quality and inventory, and enhancing overall performance. Also addressing the engineering and production aspects as well, the practical guide defined the Toyota Production System (TPS) and lay down the distinct order for Lean techniques application.

Fred Kaschak – For anyone looking to understand how to make a Transformation to Lean Manufacturing – A Must Read!

“I have used the 1st edition as the guide to making our transformation into Lean Manufacturing since 2010. Lonnie’s 2nd Edition expands nicely on every step to Implementation. With real-life examples, Lonnie provides the clarity everyone can use to guide them on a step by step process to the Cultural Changes that, if followed, will set them up for success.”

8.      Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation

Lean Thinking

Overall Rating: 4.4/5

The expanded and updated version is amongst the very best Lean Manufacturing Books. A bestselling business classic with two internationally celebrated management analysts describes a business system for the 21st century that surpasses the financial control, mass production, and strategic method of top firms. Rightly based on the Toyota (lean) model, the combination of operational excellence alongside value-based strategies are considered key to producing steady growth through varying economic conditions. The book also describes key concepts and makes them come alive with striking examples.

Mike Callery- Excellent Reading

“Are you in management, maybe even new to management? This book is a must-read. I immediately could see many of the ideas and principles in this book, applying to my new position at work.”

9.    Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Results

Toyota Kata
Overall Rating: 4.7/5

Amongst the game-changing Lean Manufacturing Books, Toyota Kata offers new insight into Toyota’s management practices and further provides practical guidance in making the best use of Lean management. Toyota Kata also examines and elucidates Toyota’s organizational routines (called kata) which power its continual success, improvement, and adaptation. The book also goes beyond in explaining issues of human actions in corporate settings alongside specific answers. Toyota Kata adds an explanation on how to improve management approach through the use of two kata (Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata).

―James P. Womack, Chairman, and Founder, Lean Enterprise Institute

“How any organization in any industry can progress from old-fashioned management by results to a strikingly different and better way.”

10.      Kaizen Express: Fundamentals for Your Lean Journey (English and Japanese Edition)

Overall Rating: 4.3/5

Kaizen Express clarifies the process using a rapid, nonstop style to explain the essential elements of the Toyota Production System (TPS) in a logical implementation sequence. This succinct but comprehensive back-to-basics Lean Manufacturing Books offers lean novices and veterans alike a complete primer on lean principles and implementation. Developed initially as an aid for teaching essential elements of TPS, the book has since grown into a must-have for all. It also offers excellent illustrations and charts to help reinforce key points.

Joe A. Eudy – Great Stick Man Demonstrations!

“This book is an incredible resource if you teach lean concepts. It has over 100 quick cartoon-style illustrations you can use to help people understand and remember lean and TPS concepts and practices. It’s a bit annoying when they put English and Japanese text on the same cartoon, but overall, a great resource.”

11.      Lean Foundations: An action guide for leaders in manufacturing to enhance workplace happiness, improve operational performance, and provide a platform for Lean.

Lean Foundations

Overall Rating: 5/5

Several questions surrounding Lean Management are answered in this compelling and indispensable new book. The book offers a practical guide to the implementation and management approach of Lean. With unmistakable empathy and a wealth of expertise, a proper and detailed view of the application of the 8-Step model is discussed. A recognized transforming approach, the 8-Steps comprehensively address the three common problems impacting several factories. The common issues include:

  • Lack of effective teamwork and organizational health.
  • Lack of engagement of empowered front-line team members, and
  • Lack of a well-functioning management system.

The book is also complete with both detailed management principles, approach, and considerable guidance.

Andy.steele – A real game changer!

 “…What a fantastic book! I’ve been working in manufacturing for the last 15 years, and I’ve never come across a book that so accurately describes what is wrong with most factories, and then gives you an obvious and practical solution for it. It’s straightforward to read, full of great information and advice, and is written by someone who knows what they’re talking about. Take my advice and buy it if you want to get your organization sorted – whether in manufacturing or not…”


Lean production is proven to offer unbeatable organizational production operations and implementation strategies. Planning to start implementing lean manufacturing? The raft of information now available about lean principles, it’s easy to get confused. But with precise details offered in the 11 Best Lean Manufacturing Books listed above, you are sure to get an abundance of practical examples, and a cohesive explanation from start to finish. No matter your current level, there are always actionable routines contained within these books to help produce superior results and competitive advantage.


About the Author- Dr Muddassir Ahmed

Dr MuddassirAhmed is the Founder & CEO of SCMDOJO. He is a global speakervlogger and supply chain industry expert with 17 years of experience in the Manufacturing Industry in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia in various Supply Chain leadership roles.  Dr. Muddassir has received a PhD in Management Science from Lancaster University Management School. Muddassir is a Six Sigma black belt and founded the leading supply chain platform SCMDOJO to enable supply chain professionals and teams to thrive by providing best-in-class knowledge content, tools and access to experts.

You can follow him on LinkedInFacebookTwitter or Instagram