Management expert James P. Womack, Ph.D., is the founder and senior advisor to the Lean Enterprise Institute, Inc., a nonprofit training, publishing, conference, and management research company chartered in August 1997 to advance a set of ideas known as lean production and lean thinking, based initially on Toyotaâ€™s business system and now being extended to an entire lean management system.
The intellectual basis for the Cambridge, MA-based Institute is described in a series of books and articles co-authored by Womack and Daniel Jones over the past 20 years. The most widely known books are: The Machine That Changed the World (Macmillan/Rawson Associates, 1990), Lean Thinking (Simon & Schuster, 1996), Lean Solutions (Simon & Schuster, 2005), and Seeing The Whole Value Stream (Lean Enterprise Institute, 2011). Articles include: â€œFrom Lean Production to the Lean Enterpriseâ€ (Harvard Business Review, March-April, 1994), â€œBeyond Toyota: How to Root Out Waste and Pursue Perfectionâ€ (Harvard Business Review, September-October, 1996), â€œLean Consumptionâ€ (Harvard Business Review, March-April, 2005).
Womack received a B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1970, a masterâ€™s degree in transportation systems from Harvard in 1975, and a Ph.D. in political science from MIT in 1982 (for a dissertation on comparative industrial policy in the U.S., Germany, and Japan). During the period 1975-1991, he was a full-time research scientist at MIT directing a series of comparative studies of world manufacturing practices. As research director of MITâ€™s International Motor Vehicle Program, Womack led the research team that coined the term â€œlean productionâ€ to describe Toyotaâ€™s business system.
Womack served as the Instituteâ€™s chairman and CEO from 1997 until 2010 when he was succeeded by John Shook.