This short book about the underlying philosophy of TPS goes a long way toward clearing up confusion about the system and its techniques.
Ohno, Taiichi. The Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production. Portland, Oregon: Productivity Press, 1988.
When Ohno was retired from Toyota in 1978 and began work on The Toyota Production System, Toyota executives worried that he would reveal the secrets of Toyota’s specific techniques. In fact, Ohno wrote an amazing set of brief essays on the thought process and spirit behind the leap from mass production (where Ford wound up at the Rouge) to truly lean production that could accommodate wide variety in continuous flow.
In reading Ohno, you can’t actually learn anything about precisely what to do on Monday morning. Yet you can learn everything about the spirit of lean thinking and the “just do it” attitude that permitted Ohno to surmount insurmountable obstacles and to introduce lean thinking in a craft-mass environment after World War II in Japan.
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