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Toyota Production System

Champions pay the price. The list of people who have achieved significant things by working many times harder than most is not long. Toyota is in that list.

It is not any other Production System .It is a unique and revolutionary. It is a break through. Credit goes to Mr. Sakichi Toyoda, Mr. Kichiro Toyoda and Mr. Taichi Ohno. What they saw in America had sleepless nights for them on how to implement it in Japan. Needs were different in Japan. America is a land of plenty, but Japan's need was low volumes, high variety. This has become the norm today.

Taylor System was scientific management and the Ford System was for mass assembly line. Taylor was focusing on increasing the efficiencies of the production system. Average Cost per unit was important for Ford while mass-producing the cars. Both these systems were unsuitable for japan where the high variety with low demand was the order of the day.

He was amazed when he looked at the supermarkets in America .How customers were withdrawing the items from the shelves and the sales men and saleswomen were replenishing it immediately. He thought why my assembly people couldn't do the same thing. Why They can't withdraw the materials from the stores for the car model they wants to produce and as these parts are consumed than someone from production replenish it on priority so that the next time when you want these parts they are available. There is never a shortage for any material.

What a revolution it started. Now all major automobile companies in the world are having their own Production System, which is nothing but the replica of the Toyota Production System.

The Toyota Production System goal is to produce at low cost with high quality and timely delivery to the customer. Achieving low cost is by completely eliminating excessive inventory and excessive work force.

Waste ("muda" in Japanese) is anything other than the minimum amount of equipment, materials, parts, space, and worker's time, which are absolutely essential to add value to the product.'
Shoichiro Toyoda
Founder, Toyota



Toyota production system is an effective tool for producing the ultimate goal-Profit. Achieving this by reducing the excessive inventory and excessive work force. Costs in the Toyota production system is not only manufacturing costs, but also sales costs, administrative costs and even capital costs are also taken into account. It simply means all the costs in the value stream.

TPS also adopts to quickly adjust to change in the market demand without having wasteful slack time.

Four kinds of waste can be found in manufacturing operations-

  • Excessive Production Resources.
  • Over Production.
  • Excessive Inventory.
  • Unnecessary Capital Investment.

TPS demands and ensures no process will supply defective goods to subsequent process. Respect for human dignity will be cultivated and ensured.

In TPS 4 things are the most important

  • Just In Time.
  • Autonotation.
  • Flexible work force. (Shojinka in Japanese)
  • Creative Thinking or working on worker's suggestions.

To achieve these 4 most important objectives Toyota Production System envisages the implementation the following systems and methods-

  • 5 S is the foundation for improvements.
  • kanban System to maintain the Just In Time production. Kanban implementation is to done at all stages of production and storage. When material is used, it is to be immediately replenished by Kanban command.
  • Production Smoothening Method to adapt to demand changes and reduce inventory.
  • Shortening of the change over time for reducing the product through put time.
  • Standard Work-Standardization of the operations to attain the line balancing. Standard operations are aimed at using a minimum number of workers. Standard Work has 3 elements-
    • Cycle time.
    • Sequence of Operations.
    • Standard Inventory at various stages of operations.
  • 'Machine Layout' and 'Multifunction workers' for the flexible work force concept.
  • 'Improvement activities by small group and suggestion system' to reduce the work force and increase the work morale.
  • 'Visual Control System' to achieve the Autonomous concept. In TPS special types of devices are used to detect the defects and automatically stop the line or the workers are authorized to stop the line when they see the defect.
  • Build In Quality. It is 'Functional Management System' to promote company wide quality control. Quality Assurance, as defined in this rule of Toyota ,is to assure that the quality of the product promotes satisfaction, reliability, and economy for the customer. The quality assurance is to be assured in all phases of the manufacturing like-
    • Product Planning
    • Product Design.
    • Manufacturing Preparation.
    • Purchasing.
    • Manufacturing for Sales.
    • Inspection.
    • Sales and services and
    • Quality Audit.

    The term by whom and where is to be defined for each department.

    Taichi Ohno says: making a factory operate for the company is just like the human body operates for an individual. The automatic nervous system responds even when we are asleep. The human body functions in good health when it is properly cared for, fed and watered correctly, exercised frequently, and treated with respect.

    In other words what you will gain the most if you implement the Toyota Production System-

    • Your profits will increase.
    • Your Business will grow.
    • You will be the least cost Producer.
    • You will become the customer first choice.
    • You will start making dispatches on time in full error free.
    • You will have started minimizing/eliminating your non moving stocks and slow moving stock.
    • Your shop floor will start becoming cleaner, leaner and empty spaces will become visible inspire of increased dispatches.
    • You will be on your way to become the World Class Company.

    Lean Kaizen Business Consulting offers the highest quality training and consulting services and certifying the Managers, Staff and Associates on the Toyota Production System. We strongly feel about producing results in your plant, with your people, addressing your problems and opportunities so that these lean gains are sustained and become a habit and culture of the organization.

    Lean Kaizen Business Consulting also includes an array of services from Toyota Production System training, in-house and open seminars to audits of the Toyota Management System.

    To get started Contact Lean Kaizen Business Consulting.