The book A Factory of One: Applying Lean Principles to Banish Waste and Improve Your Personal Performance demonstrates how to apply lean principles to the individual. It delivers key concepts such as visual management, flow, pull, and 5S. Dan provides these concepts to the individual results in the same kind of benefits: greater efficiency, less waste, and improved focus on customer value. The author, Dan Markovitz is the founder and owner of TimeBack Management, a consultancy specializing in improving individual and organizational performance through the application of lean concepts.
These concepts will be very familiar to people knowledgeable with continuous improvement and more specifically Lean and Six Sigma. However, you do not have to be a practitioner to understand or read the book. When trade terms are used the authors explains them in simple everyday language without losing a beat. Few people other than Dan could have provided a book of this sort. His experience with Lean coupled with many years of providing guidance on individual performance has given him profound insight. There may be others with his depth of knowledge but few that can transfer it into simple, practical and useable information. I found myself reading a “how to” book like a novel. I had to remind myself more than once to bend a corner or mark a page for future reference.
Dan is also not shy about crediting or highlighting others when it fits the application. He spends time discussing Personal Kanban and how he looks at applying it. My favorite part of the book was the part on living in your calendar versus your inbox. That comment in itself added a few more minutes of productivity to my day. His A3, Value Map and Information 5S were absolutely flawless.
Are you going to get 2 hours a day of time saving tips from the book? I doubt it. What you will get is more productivity and feeling better about what and how you accomplished it. It was my New Year’s Day read and I have picked it up every day since then. Not saying you won’t be able to put it down but at this point it looks that way for me.
Mark Graban on the Lean Blog had a interview with the author, Dan Markovitz that you might enjoy. I did. Dan Markovitz “A Factory of One