Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions

Glossary terms, history, people and definitions about Lean and Six Sigma

Norman Bodek

After working for 18 years with Data Processing companies, he started Productivity Inc. Press by publishing a newsletter called PRODUCTIVITY.

He has gone to Japan 81 times, visited more than 250 plants and published more than 100 Japanese management books in English. 

He has met W. Edwards Deming, Joseph Juran, Phil Crosby, Kaoru Ishikawa, Joji Akao, Taiichi Ohno, Shigeo Shingo and many other great manufacturing masters. He is responsible for translating Japanese books from many of these authors into English during the 1980’s, bringing to light many of these techniques and concepts to the west.

He has lead over 25 study missions to Japan and was one of the first to find and publish books, training materials and run conferences and seminars on TPS, SMED, CEDAC, quality circles, 5S, visual factory, TPM, VSM, Kaizen Blitz, cellular manufacturing, poka-yoke, Lean Accounting, Andon, Hoshin Kanri, Kanban, Quick and Easy Kaizen, and the Harada Method.

He also founded the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence at Utah State University with Dr. Vern Buehler, and has received the recognition for some of his books. He passed away in December 2020 at the age of 88.



  • Paul Akers
  • Vern Buehler




Rare video with Norman and his wife Nariko, who helped translate books