Norman Bodek is a teacher, consultant, author and publisher; he founded Productivity Press, and is President of PCS Press.
Described as the Godfather of Lean, he has published over 100 Japanese management books in English, including the works of Taiichi Ohno and Dr. Shigeo Shingo and taught the Best of Japanese management at Portland State University. Norman created the Shingo Prize with Dr. Vern Beuhler at Utah State University. He also was elected to Industry Week's Manufacturing Hall of Fame.
Norman's fascination with manufacturing led him to Japan and a lifelong exploration of the methods behind Japanese quality and productivity.
Over three decades, up until 2016, Bodek went to Japan 86 times, visited more than 250 plants and published over 250 management books.
Norman has found tools, techniques and new thoughts that have revolutionized the world of manufacturing. He met Dr. W. Edwards Deming, Dr. Joseph Juran, Phil Crosby, Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, Dr. Yoji Akao, Mr. Taiichi Ohno, Dr. Shigeo Shingo and other manufacturing masters and published many of their books in English. Each person he met gave him a new perspective on continuous improvement, and helped him to better understand links between the functional areas of the Toyota management system, and the value of Lean, Kaizen in achieving quality and continuous improvement.
Norman has led more than 25 study missions to Japan. He was one of the first to publish books and training materials on SMED, CEDAC, Quality Control Circles, 5S, and the Visual Factory Total Productive Maintenance, Value Stream Mapping, Kaizen and Kaizen Blitz, Cell Design, Poka-Yoke, Andon, Hoshin Kanri, and Kanban. Other books followed, on topics including total quality management.
Many of these topics form the building blocks of the Toyota Production System, which, in turn, is the basis for what came to be called Lean Manufacturing in America.
Norman has said his most powerful discovery was the way Toyota and other Japanese companies opened the infinite creative potential often lying dormant inside every single worker "When you unlock this hidden talent people become highly motivated and actually love to come to work," he said.
Since 1999 Bodek has focused on Toyota's second pillar "Respect for People, employee-development and employee-empowerment."