James P. Womack was the research director of the International Motor Vehicle Program (IMVP) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
He is the founder and chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI).
Womack first became widely known as an author in 1990 with publication of the book The Machine That Changed the World, which made the term lean production known worldwide. The book has been translated into eleven languages and has been sold more than 600,000 times. A revised edition was published in 2007.
Womack received a B.A. in political science from the University of Chicago in 1970, a master’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 MIT’s International Motor Vehicle Program, Womack led the research team that coined the term “lean production” to describe Toyota’s business system.
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