Book Review: The Work of Management

Rick Bohan
28.06.2017

I just got through reading a newly published book, The Work of Management.  It’s written by Jim Lancaster, the owner and CEO of Lantech, a maker  of packaging and material handling machinery, including stretch wrappers, conveyors, and case-forming equipment headquartered in Louisville, KY.

It reads like one of those “lean novels” (An unfortunate trend started by The Goal…I don’t mind the idea of “lean novels” and they have their place, I suppose, but it’s clear that most folks who know about lean can’t write fiction worth a damn.  I read one that actually included a sub-plot about the protagonist’s affair with a co-worker.) but it’s far more interesting given that it’s Lancaster’s story rather than an attempt to wrap a bunch of lean methods up in a fictional account.  As such, the information and messages carry more weight, in my view.

One shouldn’t expect a “how to” treatise; rather, the book represents an engaging memoir of one manager’s efforts to change his company’s culture through the deployment of visual factory and standard work.    That said, the book does a decent job of providing some detail as to what Lancaster did and how he and his team went about it.  As such, it’s a good companion read to Daniel Mann’s Creating A Lean Culture.

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