In their book The Machine That Changed The World, Womack, Jones and Roos not only renewed the JIT message that had been around for a decade in the West, but also brought home, in elegant
prose, the message that Western manufacturing was slipping still further behind. The book centred on the car industry, and delivered a stinging rebuff to those in the industry who were saying "we
already have that in place". Six years later, in Lean Thinking, Womack and Jones once again renewed the message, but extended it out beyond the car industry. These reflective authors have given
manufacturing, but to an extent also service, a vision of a world transformed from mass production to lean enterprise. The five principles set forth are of fundamental importance. Reading the
Introduction to Lean Thinking should be compulsory for every executive; unfortunately the past two decades have shown that the message is likely to lead to real change in only a few cases.