The Toyota Production System (TPS) is an early form of lean manufacturing created by auto-manufacturer Toyota. Created by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1940s and 50s, the Toyota Production System seeks to manufacture vehicles ordered by customers most quickly and efficiently possible.
|Continuous Improvement||Striving for constant process enhancement.||– Toyota: Improving quality and efficiency in production. – McDonald’s: Updating menu and operations regularly.|
|Challenge||Demonstrating courage and creativity.||– SpaceX: Pioneering reusable rockets for affordable space travel. – Apple: Innovating mobile phone technology.|
|Genchi Genbutsu||Going to the source for informed decisions.||– General Electric: Sending engineers worldwide for insights. – Honda: Conducting on-site market research.|
|Respect for People||Valuing and understanding every individual.||– Southwest Airlines: Prioritizing employees as a core asset. – Google: Fostering a culture of innovation.|
|Teamwork||Encouraging personal and professional growth.||– Zappos: Fostering teamwork and employee well-being. – Pixar: Collaborative teamwork in animated film production.|
|Jidoka||Automation with a human touch for reliability.||– Tesla: Implementing safe automation in car manufacturing. – Pharmaceutical Industry: Automated quality control.|
|Just-in-time (JIT)||Producing only what’s needed, when needed.||– Dell: Assembling computers upon customer orders. – Toyota Material Handling: JIT in forklift manufacturing.|
|Waste Reduction||Eliminating unevenness, overburden, wastefulness.||– Amazon: Streamlining fulfillment centers to reduce waste. – Lean Healthcare: Minimizing waiting times using TPS.|
|Comparison with Six Sigma||Quality-focused methodologies.||– General Motors: Applying Six Sigma for quality control. – Motorola: Pioneering Six Sigma to eliminate defects.|
Understanding the Toyota Production System
The TPS is based on underlying principles called the Toyota Way:
Or the courage and creativity to meet challenges and realize their long-term vision.
Or the continuous improvement of business operations.
Which advocates going to the source to fact-find and make informed decisions.
Respect for people.
Every effort is made to respect and understand each other.
This means taking ownership of personal work and building mutual trust.
Employees must be stimulated to achieve personal and professional growth.
Opportunities for such growth should be shared throughout the organization to maximize performance.
The two core concepts of the Toyota Production System
Toyota bases its philosophy on two concepts:
A Japanese word loosely translated to “automation with a human touch”.
For Toyota, this means that automated systems (machines) must be built and improved by hand until they are reliable and safe.
Machines built by hand to very high standards become simpler to use and less expensive to run.
This results in simple, slim, flexible, and lean manufacturing processes that are adaptable to fluctuating production volume.
Within Jidoka, there are various quality control methods, such as Andon, also defined as “intelligent automation” or “automation with a human touch”.
where each part of the manufacturing process produces what is needed for the next process to facilitate continuous flow and improve productivity.
Toyota describes the JIT concept as making only “what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed.”
The three categories of waste products in the Toyota Production System
In the introduction, we noted that the elimination of waste was integral to lean manufacturing at Toyota.
Waste that can potentially hinder process improvement is divided into three categories.
Mura is translated as unevenness, non-uniformity, and irregularity.
When a production line work station has a higher capacity than other stations, waste in the form of overproduction and delay-causing bottlenecks occur.
Muri can be mitigated by using Kanban or Just-In-Time manufacturing to limit the accumulation of excess inventory.
Muri encompasses overburden, excessiveness, unreasonableness, or something that is beyond one’s power.
Muri is evident when machines or human operators are forced to work beyond their capacity.
Machines inevitably fail, causing delays and costing money.
Overworked employees cause a lack of productivity owing to illness and absenteeism.
Muda is defined as wastefulness, uselessness, and anything that hinders the creation of value that the customer is willing to pay for.
Muda Type 1 processes do not add value directly but are required by law – such as the passing of safety tests and emissions standards.
However, Muda Type 2 processes are non-value-adding activities that are also unnecessary.
These activities are further categorized into seven types of waste:
Or wastage resulting from the excess or unnecessary movement of people, tools, equipment, or products.
Excess inventory can lead to an inefficient allocation of capital or occupy valuable space that could be better utilized elsewhere.
Large amounts of stock sitting idle is also prone to damage or spoilage.
Here, defects are also more difficult to detect and address.
This is wastage that results from walking, lifting, reaching, double-handling, and so forth.
Motion should be limited or redesigned to increase occupational health and safety and improve productivity.
This includes people waiting for materials or equipment.
It also includes equipment waiting because of input delays caused by uneven production.
Or the manufacturing of a product or component before it has been asked for, required, or ordered.
This results in excess inventory and increases lead-time.
Defined as doing more work or adding more product features or steps than is necessary.
In manufacturing, this might encompass the over-engineering of a solution or adjusting a component after it has been installed.
Or products not fit for use that must be scrapped or reworked.
Both outcomes require an extra allocation of resources which reduces productivity and profit margins.
Toyota Production System vs. Six Sigma
The Toyota Production System focuses on continuous improvement via just-in-time, thus becoming a holistic approach to business improvement.
Six Sigma looks and focuses primarily on reducing defects in the manufacturing process via a process of:
And the following implementation roles:
- Continuous Improvement (Kaizen):
- Toyota: Continuously improving quality and efficiency in production processes.
- McDonald’s: Regularly updating its menu and operational processes.
- SpaceX: Aiming to make space travel more accessible with reusable rockets.
- Apple: Transforming the mobile phone industry with innovative products.
- Genchi Genbutsu:
- General Electric: Sending engineers worldwide to gather information.
- Honda: Conducting on-site research to understand market preferences.
- Respect for People:
- Southwest Airlines: Valuing employees as a primary asset.
- Google: Promoting a culture of innovation and creativity.
- Zappos: Fostering teamwork and employee happiness.
- Pixar: Collaborative teamwork in animated film production.
- Tesla: Implementing automation with a human touch for safety.
- Pharmaceutical Industry: Using automated quality control systems.
- Just-in-time (JIT):
- Dell: Assembling computers upon customer orders.
- Toyota Material Handling: Implementing JIT principles in forklift manufacturing.
- Waste Reduction (Mura, Muri, Muda):
- Amazon: Optimizing fulfillment centers to reduce waste.
- Lean Healthcare: Applying TPS principles to minimize waiting times.
- Comparison with Six Sigma:
- General Motors: Implementing Six Sigma for quality control.
- Motorola: Pioneering Six Sigma to eliminate defects.
- Toyota Production System (TPS):
- TPS is an early form of lean manufacturing developed by Toyota in the 1940s and 50s.
- Its goal is to manufacture vehicles as efficiently as possible based on customer orders.
- Toyota Way Principles:
- Continuous Improvement: Striving for constant improvement in processes and practices.
- Challenge: Showing courage and creativity to meet challenges and achieve long-term goals.
- Kaizen: Making small incremental changes and involving everyone in the improvement process.
- Genchi Genbutsu: Going to the source to gather information for informed decisions.
- Respect for People: Respecting and understanding each other, taking ownership, and building mutual trust.
- Teamwork: Stimulating personal and professional growth of employees and sharing opportunities throughout the organization.
- Core Concepts of TPS:
- Jidoka: Automation with a human touch; machines stop automatically when a problem is detected.
- Just-in-time (JIT): Producing only what is needed, when needed, and in the required amount for continuous flow.
- Waste Reduction Categories:
- Mura: Unevenness and non-uniformity in production, causing overproduction and delays.
- Muri: Overburdening of machines or workers beyond their capacity, leading to inefficiencies and costs.
- Muda: Wastefulness hindering value creation; categorized into seven types of waste:
- Comparison with Six Sigma:
- Six Sigma: Data-driven methodology for eliminating errors or defects in products, services, or processes.
- Toyota Production System: Focuses on continuous improvement via just-in-time and a holistic approach to business improvement
Toyota Production System vs. Lean Methodology
The lean methodology is definitely a method derived from the Toyota Production System.
Yet while the Toyota Production System is primarily skewed toward manufacturing, the lean methodology has been successfully adapted to software development via a process of lean thinking which moves along:
Continuous Innovation and Lean Startup
The whole lean manufacturing method, derived from the Toyota Production System, also led to an incredible wave of new theories around software development.
In short, the software development industry borrowed many concepts from the lean manufacturing process, creating a framework that today is quite popular among startups.
This also led to an approach, which combines the lean and agile software development mindset with entrepreneurship, and that can be defined as continuous innovation.
Continuous innovation is one of the main distinguishing elements between a startup and a traditional corporation.
- The Toyota Production System is a pioneering form of lean manufacturing developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation.
- The Toyota Production System is based on continuous improvement and respect for people. In manufacturing, it favors just-in-time (JIT) production and automation with a human touch.
- The Toyota Production System categorizes waste into three categories: Muri, Muda, and Mura. Each category is defined by specific adjectives that clarify potential sources of process inefficiency.
Real World Applications
|Toyota||Automotive Manufacturing||Toyota, the originator of TPS, uses it extensively in its manufacturing processes to optimize production efficiency and minimize waste.|
|Ford||Automotive Manufacturing||Ford implemented its version of TPS, Ford Production System (FPS), to improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce waste in its plants.|
|Honda||Automotive Manufacturing||Honda adopted TPS principles in its manufacturing processes, leading to efficient production and high-quality vehicles.|
|Boeing||Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing||Boeing applied TPS principles to its aircraft assembly processes, streamlining production and reducing lead times.|
|General Electric (GE)||Diverse Manufacturing and Services||GE embraced lean principles and Six Sigma methodologies in its manufacturing and operations to enhance quality and efficiency.|
|Caterpillar||Heavy Equipment Manufacturing||Caterpillar developed its Caterpillar Production System (CPS), influenced by TPS, to enhance productivity and reduce costs in heavy equipment manufacturing.|
|John Deere||Agriculture and Heavy Equipment Manufacturing||John Deere adopted TPS-inspired continuous improvement practices to optimize its manufacturing processes for agricultural and construction equipment.|
|Amazon||E-commerce and Logistics||Amazon applies TPS principles in its fulfillment centers to improve warehouse operations, reduce inventory, and speed up order processing.|
|Starbucks||Food and Beverage Retail||Starbucks uses TPS principles to streamline its coffee shop operations, ensuring consistent product quality and customer service.|
|Walmart||Retail and Supply Chain Management||Walmart employs TPS-inspired inventory management and supply chain practices to optimize its retail operations.|
|Intel||Semiconductor Manufacturing||Intel applies lean manufacturing principles to optimize its semiconductor fabrication processes, reducing defects and improving production efficiency.|
|Pfizer||Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing||Pfizer utilizes TPS principles in pharmaceutical manufacturing to ensure product quality, reduce lead times, and minimize waste.|
|Mayo Clinic||Healthcare and Hospital Management||Mayo Clinic has implemented TPS-inspired principles to improve patient care processes, reduce wait times, and enhance healthcare quality.|
|Delta Air Lines||Airline and Transportation||Delta Air Lines employs lean principles to enhance aircraft maintenance, optimize flight scheduling, and improve customer service.|
|General Motors||Automotive Manufacturing||General Motors (GM) has adopted TPS principles to enhance production efficiency, reduce costs, and improve vehicle quality.|
|Volkswagen||Automotive Manufacturing||Volkswagen (VW) has implemented TPS-inspired practices to optimize its manufacturing processes and improve vehicle quality.|
|Nike||Athletic Footwear and Apparel||Nike applies lean manufacturing principles to optimize its supply chain and production, ensuring quick turnaround times and customization.|
|Honda Motorcycle||Motorcycle Manufacturing||Honda’s motorcycle division utilizes TPS principles to produce high-quality motorcycles efficiently and reduce lead times.|
|Boeing Commercial Airplanes||Aerospace and Aircraft Manufacturing||Boeing Commercial Airplanes employs TPS-inspired principles in aircraft production to enhance quality and on-time delivery.|
|3M||Diverse Manufacturing and Innovation||3M incorporates TPS principles in its innovation processes, streamlining product development and manufacturing.|
What are the three principles of Toyota Production System?
What are the seven types of waste in the Toyota Production System?
What are the founding concepts of the Toyota Production System?
What does kaizen stand for?
Kaizen is a process developed by the auto industry, and it is a hybridization of two Japanese words, “kai,” meaning “change,” and “zen,” meaning “good.” Two of the basic tenets of Kaizen involve making small incremental changes – or a 1% improvement every day – and the full participation of everyone.
What is Gemba work?
A Gemba Walk describes the personal observation of work to learn more about it. Gemba is a Japanese word that loosely translates as “the real place” or, in business, “the place where value is created.” The concept was created by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System of lean manufacturing.
Connected Agile & Lean Frameworks
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Main Case Studies: