Jim Womack

Title: Chairman and Founder
Company: Lean Enterprise Institute


Management expert James P. Womack, PhD, is the founder and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute, a nonprofit education, publishing, conference and research organization chartered in August 1997, to advance a set of ideas known as lean production and lean thinking, based on the Toyota Production System and now being extended to an entire Lean Business System.

The intellectual basis for the Cambridge, MA-based Institute is described in a series of books and articles co-authored by Dr. 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), "Seeing The Whole: mapping the extended value stream" (Lean Enterprise Institute, 2001), "Lean Solutions" (Simon & Schuster, 2005).

Articles include: "From Lean Production to the Lean Enterprise" (Harvard Business Review, March-April, 1994), "Beyond Toyota: How to Root Out Waste and Pursue Perfection" (Harvard Business Review, September-October, 1996), “Lean Consumption” (Harvard Business Review, March-April, 2005).

The institute conducts research activities in a wide range of industries to create a tool kit of methods for implementing lean thinking and the necessary leadership behaviors. The institute also sponsors educational meetings, workshops, senior management seminars and conferences through the year and helps people to apply lean thinking in manufacturing and entirely new applications such as health care, retail, air travel and distribution.

Dr. Womack received a BA in political science from the University of Chicago in 1970, a master’s degree in transportation systems from Harvard in 1975, and a PhD 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, Dr. Womack was a full-time research scientist at MIT directing a series of comparative studies of world manufacturing practices.