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TPS on the Lean Post
Getting Started with Lean Product and Process Development
Learning and applying the concepts of LPPD is no different than learning any other new skill in life, says Andy Houk. In this article he shares his personal learning cycle of three steps (repeated many times, over many years): self-study, getting a coach, and practicing.… More »
Thinking About the Why of the What of Problem-Solving
When we talk about problem-solving, what we’re really talking about here is creating adaptive capacity, the deep capability of an organization to tackle anything that comes its way, any obstacle that comes between you and where you want to go. Tackling problems one by one is what gives an organization capability for deep adaptability.… More »
Not Every Problem Is a “Nail” But Companies Typically Reach for the Same Old “Hammer”
Learn how you can avoid the frustrating, ineffective, but widespread “hammer-and-nail” problem-solving pitfall by recognizing four main problem types so you apply the right problem-solving approach to the right problem.… More »
TPS, the Thinking People System
The twin pillars of just-in-time and jidoka help support a full model about how to achieve customer satisfaction from employee satisfaction, through teamwork and respect, on a basis of mutual trust between management and employees.… More »
How Does Asking Questions Create Change?
Lean is not a sum of processes to acquire and apply which then will make things magically work better. It’s a set of techniques to visualize delivery processes so everyone understands them at a glance, reveal problems to give opportunities for people to exercise their abilities to think, be creative and utilize their strengths to self-actualize in the course of their work.… More »
Cardboard, Duct Tape, and String: The Do-First Mindset
Whatever field you work in, if you are responsible for kaizen in your company, strive for quick change in your workplace by finding your cardboard, duct tape, and string, says lean coach Mark Reich.… More »
Ask Art: Why Should I Be Able to Make Every Product Every Day?
Working on the goal of "every product every day" helps all companies realize the benefits of lean as a strategy, says Art Byrne, by developing flexibility and responsiveness that ultimately delivers far more value to the customer.… More »
Yes, Lean is About Cost Reduction
Why focus on cost reduction? Because many of the cost-saving kaizens of are simpler and require less engineering resources, and this type of kaizen motivates the production teams to try things on their own and develops their capability. This is an outcome of cost reduction activity, says Mark Reich… More »
Lesson From Japan: Day Five
On this final set of shared lessons from Japan, our lean learners reflect on the spirit of kaizen and the notion of employees as assets. They learn more about why "To Toyota, kaizen is the same as breathing."… More »
Lessons from Japan: Day Four
On day four of the Lean Learning tour in Japan, the participants share their lessons, which are tied to this theme: TPS kaizen begins with a question: “What problem are you trying to solve?”… More »
Lessons From Japan: Day Three
Is Toyota improving productivity or developing people? What we saw today suggests not just that the answer is both but that the two are inseparable, especially when it comes to jishuken.… More »
Lessons from Japan: Day Two
A group of lean learners are touring world-class enterprises in Japan; here are postcards capturing their daily lessons gleaned from what they observed.… More »
The Quiet Factory
Could noise be considered another waste to be reduced in the system? Matt Savas ponders the implications of a Toyota factory that has set a goal of lowering the decibel level to help with a key strategic goal.… More »
Learning to Teach the Soft Side of Lean
If there’s one common theme among virtually any failed effort, it boils to a failure to engage people in the purpose, says Tracey Richardson. That's why before any industry or functional area attempts (beyond manufacturing) to learn lean thinking, the people leading the work must gain the mutual trust and respect from your workers by walking the walk.… More »
Learning and Teaching Lean with Tracey and Ernie Richardson on the Lean Podcast WLEI
Hear Tracey and Ernie share how they learned lean while working together on our new podcast WLEI… More »
Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine
While Tesla has excited customers and drawn praise for innovative design and bold thinking, author Jeff Liker believes that it faces tough challenges in its approach to ramping up production that challenge its mechanistic vision of manufacturing.… More »
Is there a crack in the model of continuous improvement?
Is this a case of déjà vu all over again? The Wall Street Journal says the sterling reputation of “Japanese manufacturing” or kaizen, is tarnished in the wake of several quality inspection scandals. But is this a kaizen crisis or a kaizen kerfuffle that we’ve experienced before? Editor Tom Ehrenfeld sorts it out.… More »
Lean Roundup: Jidoka
"Jidoka captures the principle of building quality into the production process—of designing work so that the people making the product have the means and mindset to be constantly vigilant for what is okay and what is not. By attacking waste at the source, jidoka starkly contrasts with an unfortunately-too-common approach of hiding flaws, passing them down the line, and relying on someone else to fix problems far from their source."… More »
Raised by Toyota: A Question and Answer with Tracey and Ernie Richardson
In this extended interview, Toyota veterans Tracey and Ernie Richardson share how they learned at the source, explain how they apply their lessons widely (including their personal life), and speculate why this system called lean could just as well be called...our J-O-B.… More »
TPS or the Toyota Way?
"Students of lean are often confused by the variety of ways Toyota explains the Toyota Production System," writes Michael Ballé. "For instance, 'what is the link,' they ask, 'between the TPS house and the Toyota Way?'" The answer in Michael's latest article for The Lean Post.… More »
Why Toyota is Still My North Star
"In the past five years the local lean engineering community has gained a deeper hands-on appreciation of how intermeshed product and processes are," writes Michael Ballé. "Product innovation often comes from progress in process innovation. We also understand better the truly outstanding feats of engineering that Toyota’s new drive represents."… More »
TPS 2.0?
Jim Morgan and Jeffrey Liker chime in on Toyota's announcement of their TNGA program (Toyota New Global Architecture). "The impetus for TNGA is not the recall crisis," they say, "but rather Toyota’s history, with a push added by the Great Recession... Toyota is constantly working on the next generation of fundamental product and process innovations and occasionally we get a snapshot." Read more.… More »
Latondra Newton on the Toyota Production System and Social Innovation
The success of Toyota’s lean management principles in manufacturing, healthcare, product development, and other areas is well known and well documented. Now the company is applying these concepts to social innovation in order to give back to society. Read more in Chet Marchwinski's interview with Toyota's Chief Social Innovation Officer, Latondra Newton.… More »
Book Value: What Every Manager Should Know About Training
Jeff Morrow, lean coach and faculty at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, reviews and recommends Dr. Robert Mager's 1999 book, What Every Manager Should Know About Training. Morrow goes on to explain the difference between performance-based training methods and "content" or "awareness-based" training methods.… More »
Sharks & Tortoises
"A small number of firms have grown spectacularly in revenue, employees, and stock price by using [lean] to execute crisply on tactics," writes Jeff Morrow, describing lean sharks. "And then there are tortoises: bullet-proof firms like Toyota and its supply network... practitioners of 'go slow to go fast.'" Read more about what these two types of lean companies might learn from each other.… More »
Lean IT at Toyota Motor Europe
Pierre Masai, VP of Information Systems and CIO at Toyota Motor Europe, fields questions on the unique needs of the IT customer as well as the connections between Lean and Agile at the Lean IT Summit earlier this fall in Paris.… More »
What Experience Tells Me About How Change Happens
Dave LaHote reflects on his earliest experiences learning lean thinking and practice. "We all became increasingly better at making improvements and solving problems using simple, common sense, everyday tools," he writes. "This became the way we did work, not some extra work to do."… More »
I Don't Know What I Don't Know, But Spread the Word
In her first piece for the Post, Lesa Nichols reflects on one of her most powerful learning experiences while working as a powertrain manager at Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant.… More »
Lean Product Development is About Thinking Horizontally in a Vertical World
Check out the blog from Day 2 of the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange (North America) conference in Durham, North Carolina. Excerpts from Jim Womack's keynote and more.… More »
Still Faithful to Lean Thinking
"We wrote Lead With Respect to show just how central engagement and involvement is to lean success," says Michael Ballé. "As a sociologist, 'making people to make products' is what grabbed me as I first studied how Toyota led improvement." Learn more about what drove Ballé, co-author of Lead With Respect, to share this particular story.… More »
Ron Pereira and Jim Morgan Discuss the Power of Lean Product and Process Development
Check out excerpts from Gemba Academy's podcast with Jim Morgan on core lean product and process development concepts, what makes "LPPD" different from traditional product development, and what the lean idea of "respect for people" really means.… More »
Lean Talks: Are You Making Excuses or Solving Problems?
In his "lean talk" at the Lean Transformation Summit this past March, lean coach and author Mark Graban shared his perspective on what a culture of continuous improvement really means and requires of us as hopeful change agents. The video concludes with a Q&A with Jim Womack.… More »
Cost Reduction, Waste, and Purpose
"Eliminating waste makes it easier to see and find problems, which is the first step to solving them," writes Katrina Appell. "It removes frustrations, which improves worker and customer satisfaction."… More »
Food Bank For New York City and Toyota: Unlikely Partners in Innovation
Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City, will tell the story about Food Bank's partnership with TSSC at next week's Lean Transformation Summit in Orlando!… More »
The Real Lean Challenge: Levelling Production
Most lean practitioners focus primarily on the waste elimination aspect of Lean and ignore levelled production. In his second piece for the Post, Ian Glenday explains why levelled production is so important to overall system improvement.… More »
The Thinking Behind Toyota's Hiring Process
Lean coach Tracey Richardson reflects on Toyota's hiring process when she joined the company 28 years ago, why it was so unique then, and how she continues to learn from that experience today.… More »
Now What Do We Call the Karaoke Bar?
We asked the lean community to sound off on whether or not they favored using Japanese terms in their lean transformations. The results were interesting and far ranging.… More »
A Connecticut Yankee Machinist in Toyoda’s Castle
“Culture matters,” John Shook tells us in his post about Charles A. Francis, an American who worked for Toyota group founder Sakichi Toyoda in the early 1900s, “but never let stereotypical views of national character be used as an excuse to not do the right thing.” Read this remarkable story of a missing piece to the larger story of continuous innovation in process technology between the United States and Japan over the past 150 years.… More »
Happy Birthday Eiji Toyoda!
Toyota enthusiasts know how tremendously influential Eiji Toyoda has been to the development of Toyota and its revolutionary management system. Perhaps his story will never be fully told, but Eiji, a former president and chairman of Toyota, could be the most important figure in all the rich history of the company’s evolution.… More »
Continuously Improving Lean IT at Toyota
Pierre Masai, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Toyota Motor Europe, weighs in on the changing face of Lean IT and shares his thoughts for pushing the field forward.… More »
Create Your Fantasy Island Organizational Culture
What would your dream organizational culture look like? What about your fantasy lean transformation? Tracey Richardson shares her advice for turning at least some of these hopes and ambitions into a reality.… More »
Leading and Learning the Toyota Way
Lean coach and LEI faculty member, Tracey Richardson, tells us why a learner's attitude is essential for effective leadership and in creating a lean management system.… More »
Such a Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever
Lean thinking, principles, and experiments show up everywhere and make a real difference, sometimes in places you'd least expect.… More »
TPS on Lean.org
Shigeo Shingo's Influence on the Toyota Production System
Isao Kato was in a good position to observe the early development of the Toyota Production System, the model for lean production. He developed training material at Toyota under Taiichi Ohno, regarded … More »
What is the Theory of Constraints, and How Does it Compare to Lean Thinking?
Read about and discuss this topic.… More »
Role of Management in a Lean Manufacturing Environment
Gary Convis, president, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, explains that the critical role of management in a lean company is to motivate and engage large numbers of people to work together toward a… More »
Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System
Steven Spear and H. Kent Bowen explain in the Harvard Business Review how the Toyota Production System can be tightly choreographed and supple. The key is that Toyota's operations are a series of cont… More »
Toyota's New Material-Handling System Shows TPS’s Flexibility
Art Smalley, LEI author and faculty member, reports on Toyota's new material-handling system for assembly areas that he saw in action at an engine plant in Japan. The system reduces assembly errors wh… More »
Key Concepts of Lean
Designed for individuals and teams that want to gain a better understanding of the components and underlying philosophy of lean, based on the Toyota Production System (TPS), and how the elements and p… More »
Kaizen Express
Kaizen Express is a concise but precise illustrated guide to the fundamentals of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and how to implement them. It is ideal for individuals or teams starting a lean tran… More »
Lean Lexicon 5th Edition (eBook)
The fifth edition of the Lexicon, first published in January 2003, is 140 pages, containing 60+ illustrations and 207 key terms from A3 Report to Yokoten. The Lexicon already covers such key lean ente… More »
Made-to-Order Lean
Toyota Production System methods have rendered remarkable results in high-volume manufacturing plants, but they have not been fully understood and correctly applied in high-mix, low-volume environment… More »
What Experience Tells Me About How Change Happens
Dave LaHote reflects on his earliest experiences learning lean thinking and practice. "We all became increasingly better at making improvements and solving problems using simple, common sense, everyday tools," he writes. "This became the way we did work, not some extra work to do."… More »
I Don't Know What I Don't Know, But Spread the Word
In her first piece for the Post, Lesa Nichols reflects on one of her most powerful learning experiences while working as a powertrain manager at Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant.… More »
Lean Product Development is About Thinking Horizontally in a Vertical World
Check out the blog from Day 2 of the Lean Product and Process Development Exchange (North America) conference in Durham, North Carolina. Excerpts from Jim Womack's keynote and more.… More »
Still Faithful to Lean Thinking
"We wrote Lead With Respect to show just how central engagement and involvement is to lean success," says Michael Ballé. "As a sociologist, 'making people to make products' is what grabbed me as I first studied how Toyota led improvement." Learn more about what drove Ballé, co-author of Lead With Respect, to share this particular story.… More »
Ron Pereira and Jim Morgan Discuss the Power of Lean Product and Process Development
Check out excerpts from Gemba Academy's podcast with Jim Morgan on core lean product and process development concepts, what makes "LPPD" different from traditional product development, and what the lean idea of "respect for people" really means.… More »
Lean Talks: Are You Making Excuses or Solving Problems?
In his "lean talk" at the Lean Transformation Summit this past March, lean coach and author Mark Graban shared his perspective on what a culture of continuous improvement really means and requires of us as hopeful change agents. The video concludes with a Q&A with Jim Womack.… More »
Cost Reduction, Waste, and Purpose
"Eliminating waste makes it easier to see and find problems, which is the first step to solving them," writes Katrina Appell. "It removes frustrations, which improves worker and customer satisfaction."… More »
Food Bank For New York City and Toyota: Unlikely Partners in Innovation
Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City, will tell the story about Food Bank's partnership with TSSC at next week's Lean Transformation Summit in Orlando!… More »
The Real Lean Challenge: Levelling Production
Most lean practitioners focus primarily on the waste elimination aspect of Lean and ignore levelled production. In his second piece for the Post, Ian Glenday explains why levelled production is so important to overall system improvement.… More »
The Thinking Behind Toyota's Hiring Process
Lean coach Tracey Richardson reflects on Toyota's hiring process when she joined the company 28 years ago, why it was so unique then, and how she continues to learn from that experience today.… More »
Now What Do We Call the Karaoke Bar?
We asked the lean community to sound off on whether or not they favored using Japanese terms in their lean transformations. The results were interesting and far ranging.… More »
A Connecticut Yankee Machinist in Toyoda’s Castle
“Culture matters,” John Shook tells us in his post about Charles A. Francis, an American who worked for Toyota group founder Sakichi Toyoda in the early 1900s, “but never let stereotypical views of national character be used as an excuse to not do the right thing.” Read this remarkable story of a missing piece to the larger story of continuous innovation in process technology between the United States and Japan over the past 150 years.… More »
Happy Birthday Eiji Toyoda!
Toyota enthusiasts know how tremendously influential Eiji Toyoda has been to the development of Toyota and its revolutionary management system. Perhaps his story will never be fully told, but Eiji, a former president and chairman of Toyota, could be the most important figure in all the rich history of the company’s evolution.… More »
Continuously Improving Lean IT at Toyota
Pierre Masai, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Toyota Motor Europe, weighs in on the changing face of Lean IT and shares his thoughts for pushing the field forward.… More »
Create Your Fantasy Island Organizational Culture
What would your dream organizational culture look like? What about your fantasy lean transformation? Tracey Richardson shares her advice for turning at least some of these hopes and ambitions into a reality.… More »
Leading and Learning the Toyota Way
Lean coach and LEI faculty member, Tracey Richardson, tells us why a learner's attitude is essential for effective leadership and in creating a lean management system.… More »
Such a Fine Line Between Stupid and Clever
Lean thinking, principles, and experiments show up everywhere and make a real difference, sometimes in places you'd least expect.… More »