Philip Holt - The Simplicity of Lean

Defeating Complexity, Delivering Excellence


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Lean organizations seem to work in a simple manner and operate with an innate calmness. They have removed much of the complexity that inhibits the performance of other companies, but achieving this level of simplicity is not easy. In The Simplicity of Lean, Philip Holt provides a comprehensive handbook of the Lean principles, presented in an accessible and easy to apply manner.

The Simplicity of Lean is a step-by-step guide to the Lean Thinking that makes your organization more efficient and effective. The book offers the necessary context of how to apply Lean Thinking to make your Lean Transformation successful. Alongside the theory and the practical application of Lean, Philip also shares his personal insights and experiences, as well as individual success stories (and failures) from various Lean leaders from across the world. The Simplicity of Lean is the perfect guide to make your Lean journey a resounding success.

Published in August 2019 | Paperback | 288 pages | ca. 71,000 words
Full English manuscript available
Awarded an Axiom Business Awards Bronze Medal
English edition published by Management Impact

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Philip is currently Senior Vice President, Global Transformation at GKN Aerospace, the world’s leading multi-technology tier 1 aerospace supplier. He was formerly Vice President, Continuous Improvement at Travelport, a leading Travel Commerce Platform, and prior to that held a number of senior Lean Leadership roles with Royal Philips, most notably Head of Continuous Improvement for Philips, Head of Continuous Improvement for the Consumer Lifestyle sector, and Head of Operational Excellence, Accounting Operations. Philip was the lead author of the Philips Lean Excellence Model.

Philip has over 30 years of business experience in leadership roles spanning the customer value chain, in Industry Leading Companies such as GKN Aerospace, Philips, Gillette, and Travelport. During this time he has built up an impressive reputation in Lean Leadership practice and is a regular speaker at industry conferences. He studied at Manchester Metropolitan University, Warwick Business School, and the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School).


'Philip has written a practical book about the why and how of Lean, a simple model for consistent growth and continuous improvement. I actually wish he had written this book before I started my Lean learning journey. It will be a great help to anyone embarked on the learning curve, full of practical and applicable lessons and complemented with Hansei reflection space. Lean makes life easier, especially when under Philip’s guidance. Who does not need a little simplicity these days to ensure that we can focus on the things that matter, like growth and innovation?'
Simone Noordegraaf, CEO of iPEC Coaching Europe and Executive Coach

'With The Simplicity of Lean, Philip has created a comprehensive overview of the fundamental thinking behind Lean, as well as how to apply the lean tools in a pragmatic way. A very useful guide to jump-start your Lean journey or a good refresher for people who are already underway.'
Hans van ‘t Riet, VP, Transformation Leader & Head of Implementation Competence Centre, Philips

'Organisational transformation is notoriously difficult to achieve and even harder to sustain, not least due to the complexity of the myriad human factors involved. In The Simplicity of Lean, Philip addresses some of the key elements of a successful Lean Transformation, from expectations to leaders’ beliefs. The book contains some real gems, focused on people issues, making it an excellent guide to the technical and social application of Lean.'
David Bovis, Managing Director, Duxinaroe Ltd and Business Consulting Associate Director, Grant Thornton LLP

'In The Simplicity of Lean, Philip provides a powerful and versatile array of management tools. Most importantly however, these tools are presented in a context that connects with the realities of daily operations, both technical and interpersonal. Philip doesn’t just give you the tools, he gives you a framework for introducing these tools to the people who will use and sustain them. He accomplishes this through both thought experiments and real personal stories from the Gemba. Understanding The Simplicity of Lean will enable you to overcome the complex challenges that all organisations face in creating a better future for your company, its customers and your community.'
Collin McLoughlin, Author of True Kaizen, Founder of Enna, an imprint of Productivity Press

'The Simplicity of Lean is an ideal companion for the Lean Practitioner. Written in a very personal manner, it addresses the four key elements necessary to put a lean culture in place. Based on experiences in both manufacturing and office based activity, it educates the reader on the core devices within each of these key elements. Gems of personal insight and reflection will make this a thought provoking read for both experienced and novice Lean Practitioners. Before you lead with Lean, you first need to understand the fundamentals of Lean, and how to put a Lean system in place. This book provides that practical model and is ideal for those embarking on the journey to create a Lean culture.'
Jon Tudor, Managing Director, True North Excellence and former President, Association for Manufacturing Excellence


Foreword by Collin McLoughlin

1 - Introduction

2 - Daily Management
3 - Leader Standard Work
4 - Problem solving
5 - Visual management
6 - Work place organization (5S)
7 - Team & personal effectiveness

8 - Standardized work
9 - Job instruction
10 - The 8 wastes
11 - Kaizen everyday

12 - Hoshin Kanri
13 - Value stream mapping

14 - The Lean leader
15 - Kaizen events

16 - Personal stories
17 - Creating your own story

About the Author

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