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John Shook

Title: Senior Advisor
Company: Lean Enterprise Institute

Biography

John Shook is an industrial anthropologist who began his observation and analysis of companies with his first tour of companies in Japan in 1977. He currently divides his time between teaching and research and advising individuals and organizations who wish to understand and implement lean enterprise principles and practices.

John is president of two lean consulting groups, the Lean Transformations Group, LLC, which focuses on the application of lean principles in services, health care and other non-manufacturing settings, and the TWI Network, Inc., a consortium of lean manufacturing experts.

John has been senior advisor for Dr. James Womack’s Lean Enterprise Institute since its inception in 1997. John was director of University of Michigan’s Japan Technology Management Program, and taught in the university’s Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering from 1994 to 2000.

For 11 years John worked for Toyota in Japan and the United States. He joined Toyota in 1983 in Toyota City to help with the process of transferring the company’s management and production systems to NUMMI and subsequently to other operations around the world. During his seven-year stay at Toyota’s headquarters, he became the company’s first American ‘Kacho’ (manager) in Japan. In the United States, John became a part of Toyota’s North American engineering and R&D center in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1991.

As general manager of administration, his responsibilities included strategic planning, purchasing, public affairs, and general administration. His last position with Toyota was as senior American manager with the Toyota Supplier Support Center in Lexington, Kentucky, the company’s organization to assist the efforts of North American companies to implement TPS. John is co-author of Learning To See, winner of the 1999 Shingo Prize for excellence in manufacturing publication, and the acclaimed training program, Mapping To See, a step-by-step guide that enables any company design and lead its own lean transformation.

He is a lifetime member of the Shingo Academy and frequent presenter at academic and industry forums and is periodically cited in major publications such as Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Time, Automotive News and others. His forthcoming book, "Managing To Learn" will expose the DNA of Toyota’s management, leadership and mentoring processes.