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The Book

Lean Labor by Gregg Gordon

Lean Labor, by Gregg Gordon

Increasingly manufacturers everywhere have access to the same raw materials, technology, and distribution. And emerging markets are at once opening up new markets as well as acting as new low wage threats. Lean Labor shows how the workforce, often considered the most valuable asset of an organization, can also be its primary differentiation against today’s growing global competition. The intellectual property developed during an employee’s tenure impacts productivity, quality, and innovation and can become the ongoing differentiation for a manufacturer if the workforce is successfully managed.

Lean Labor is a guidebook that provides a step-by-step process of cultivating a highly effective workforce adopting lean methodologies.  Lean focuses on eliminating effort expended but not valued by customers and this book provides a roadmap of how to eliminate waste while empowering the workforce to make better decisions on a daily basis.  From minimizing payroll errors — to scheduling effectively — to eliminating production losses, many examples are included in the book that demonstrate how manufacturers have successfully changed the way they use labor to reduce costs, shorten lead times, and provide higher levels of service to their customers.

Lean Labor is available for purchase at Amazon.com in both hard cover and electronic formats

Also available on the Nook at Barnes and Noble

Lean Labor is also available in these countries through the following distributors.

Canada: oCapt business books.

India: BookCurry

Lean Labor is now available in Spanish and Chinese. Please contact the author to get your copy.

Reviews

Did he follow me around in my job? This book is spot on!

May 2014

Many classes address lean manufacturing, lean concepts but no one book – class – nor seminar addresses Lean Labor for manufacturing the way Gregg does in this book. He helps close the gap for Gemba, Visual Factory, Reports and measurements allowing HR to KEEP their seat at the table. HR professionals like myself understand Operations, we live it, we have to know it but it can be a challenge to find a way to incorporate Lean Labor in a simple way and justifiable way. Automating, manual processes is the key, looking at root cause analysis and counter measures is empirical to the process but what does that mean for HR practitioners. I will give the book away but every PHR/SPHR/Undergrad and Graduate should read this book, it is 100% applicable to the success and survival in a global economy.

Yvonne Van Cleve

 

“Finding Productive Ways to cut costs.”

NECN Television Interview – December 2011

“One of the better business books I’ve read recently.”

Malcolm Wheatly, The Manufacturer

“Instructive read on a critical factor of production, whether you are in manufacturing or services. “

D. Murli – The Hindu Business Line, Sustainability of workforce-driven innovation


“Gregg Gordon’ s book on Lean Labor is indeed a very timely exercise in the Indian context given the Government of India’s emphasis on the importance of the manufacturing sector in the economy. Most importantly, the book focuses on the human dimension in the manufacturing   process. The book, written in easy English, dwells on some of the challenges that the manager faces on the shop floor including   daily operational decision making. The chapter on increasing the productivity of the entire workforce also captures the issues involving contract employees, maintenance mechanics, quality control staff and warehouse labor, and where the real problems reside. A must read for any industry manager facing local or global competition.”

-Shekar Viswanathan, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motors Ltd

If employee paychecks were considered a product line, it would rank as one of the largest products at most companies.

You have two choices. To outsmart your competitors you can improve your internal processes or you can look externally to find lower cost sources. Gregg Gordon, author of Lean Labor: A Survival Guide for Companies Facing Global Competition, wouldn’t advise you to chase lower wages from country to country. What he would suggest is using Lean strategies to transform your workplace.

“Companies that practice Lean rely on their employees who know the process best to identify unproductive activities and replace them with productive ones. This additional productive time results in higher output with the same pace of production using the same capital investment,” Gordon explains.

One reason lean is not routinely deployed in the area of workforce management is due to the challenge of measuring the workforce, says Gordon. While machines and materials are easily measured, the inherent nature of the variability of the workforce makes metrics difficult. However it’s a step worth taking. “Companies that reduce the variability of the workforce while still providing a fair and equitable place to work will receive more value from their workforce than those companies that do not,” says Gordon.

Gordon expounds on other aspects of labor that can be measured using lean techniques to understand, quantify and manage labor costs. These aspects include: Balancing Labor and Demand, Using Labor Information to Make Operational Decision and Increasing the Productivity of the Entire Workforce.

He does this taking the reader through the plight of Graham, an operations manager, who must reduce unit costs by 10% or his division will be moved to China. The reader is able to listen in to how Graham moves through the process and ends up achieving his goal. As Graham walks through the plant which remained open he “listened to the familiar sounds of production, his greatest satisfaction came from knowing that he had kept his plants open by tapping in to the employees’ ability to innovate rather than chasing low wages.”

- Adrienne Selko, Industry Week

Lean Labor As a Competitive Advantage, Industry Week, May 20, 2011

“For manufacturing to be competitive in the mature economies of North America, Western Europe, and Japan, companies must have a sustained and intense focus on continuously improving operational productivity. Gregg Gordon provides the reader with a recipe for blending lean principles, six sigma consistency, and resource optimization to meet this productivity imperative. The book forgoes a dry academic approach by including an entertaining parable and case studies to magnify the key points and create a versatile framework for implementation. The book deserves a prominent place on the manufacturing executive’s bookshelf.”

- Bob Parker, Group Vice President of Research, IDC Manufacturing Insights

“Gregg Gordon’s Lean Labor has pinpointed one of the critical transformations businesses must make when it comes to managing labor: motivating cultural change through a methodical approach which puts agency into the hands on those actually doing the work. But it’s the visibility of value added activity that creates a bridge between knowing how your employees allocate their time throughout the day, and using it to your advantage in improving throughput, quality, and performance.

More manufacturers could benefit by looking at the human component of production as an asset rather than an expense.”

-Anna Wells, Executive Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology

“Gregg Gordon has created an easily digestible vision of the role Labor can play in today’s global demand-driven value networks, achieving the holy grail of profitable, demand-driven manufacturing. Despite the ‘Lean Labor’ title, Gregg isn’t afraid to tackle the thorny inconsistencies in applying Lean principles such as eliminating waste and non-value added steps, while simultaneously striving for the agility required to adapt and take advantage of today’s supply and customer demand volatility. Gregg also makes a compelling case for technology for automated data collection for Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Overall Labor Effectiveness (OLE), and makes the case for software for Labor Scheduling, Price Management, Workforce Management and Operations Intelligence. Very refreshing.”

- Caglayan Arkan, General Manager, WW Manufacturing & Resources Sector, Microsoft Corporation

“Most manufacturing executives today have had at least some exposure to Lean principles. These executives are also intensely focused on eliminating waste and reducing the cost of operations. However, when traditional Lean tools are applied to labor the results can often be lack luster and counterproductive. To address this gap in the understanding of Lean, Gregg Gordon provides easy to digest instructions and examples for applying Lean tools to the labor force. He helps the reader take traditional manufacturing tools and concepts like OEE or FMEA and apply it to the work force. From production supervisors to senior executives at the world’s largest manufacturing companies, Lean Labor is a worthwhile read if you are interested in increasing the engagement, productivity, and ultimate success of your workforce.”

- Matthew Littlefield, Senior Research Analyst, Manufacturing, Aberdeen Group

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