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From the Lean Lexicon 5th Edition:

Toyota Production System:   The production system developed by Toyota Motor Corporation to provide best quality, lowest cost, and shortest lead time through the elimination of waste. TPS is comprised of two pillars, just-in-time and jidoka, and often is illustrated with the “house” shown at right. TPS is maintained and improved through iterations of standardized work and kaizen, following PDCA, or the scientific method.  Development of TPS is credited to Taiichi Ohno, Toyota’s chief of production in the post-WW II period. Beginning in machining operations and spreading from there, Ohno led the development of TPS at Toyota throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and the More »
Toyota the Disrupter
By: Jim Morgan | August 29, 2018
Toyota may not be the first company you think of for disruptive product and process development, but perhaps they should be, argues Jim Morgan. The tools and practices that Toyota uses have been adapted and applied successfully by companies large and small, in a wide variety of industries and in places all over the world. More »
Toyota and Sudden Acceleration: Facts from the NASA Report
By: John Shook | February 17, 2011
Columns; eLetters
NASA just released its highly anticipated report about the Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) charge in Toyota vehicles. (www.  nasa.  gov/topics/nasalife/features/nesc-toyota-study.  html ) The verdict is in. And Toyota’s electronic throttle control system is fully exonerated. More »
Toyota's New Material-Handling System Shows TPS’s Flexibility
By: Smalley, Art | January 12, 2009
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 while increasing the value-added time of assembly operators. More »
Pivoting Just-In-Time with Hoshin Kanri at Toyota
By: Mark Reich | May 26, 2020
Articles; eLetters
Learn about the power of hoshin kanri, a systematic approach to defining a strategy and, more importantly, a management system that engages all people to support that strategy while building horizontal and vertical alignment. More »
Can you implement TPS if management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way?
By: Michael Ballé | January 28, 2019
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,  How can we implement the principles of  TPS if our management doesn’t accept the fundamental values of the Toyota Way? More »
A Deeper Dive into Visual Management at Toyota
By: Andrew Quibell | November 22, 2016
"In a previous sketch I introduced Toyota’s approach to visual management, or Floor Management Display Systems (FMDS), including the six elements of creating FMDS," writes Andrew Quibell. "Now it’s time for a deeper dive into those six elements and explore how their approach guarantees an effective floor display will present compelling messages.  " More »
An Overview of Visual Management at Toyota
By: Andrew Quibell | October 20, 2016
"Implementing visual management (VM) is a cornerstone of any lean transformation," writes Andrew Quibell. "And few companies know that better than Toyota.  " In this first of two sketches on visual management at Toyota, Andrew illustrates the fundamentals of the process as Toyota practices itself and teaches its suppliers. More »
How the A3 Came to Be Toyota’s Go-To Management Process for Knowledge Work (intro by John Shook)
By: Isao Yoshino | August 2, 2016
A3 thinking is synonymous with Toyota. Yet many often wonder how exactly this happened. Even if we know A3 thinking was created at Toyota, how did it become so firmly entrenched in the organization’s culture? Retired Toyota leader Mr. Isao Yoshino spearheaded a special program that made A3s Toyota’s foremost means of problem-solving. Read more. More »
Raised by Toyota: A Question and Answer with Tracey and Ernie Richardson
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | June 28, 2016
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 »
Is There No Other Lean Exemplar Than Toyota?
By: Michael Ballé | December 16, 2015
"I believe that while Toyota isn’t the only lean exemplar out there," writes Michael Ballé, "it still gives us a flawless example of what lean truly is – a definition that is so often misunderstood. Let us try to disentangle the matter.  " Read more. More »
TPS or the Toyota Way?
By: Michael Ballé | December 15, 2015
"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
By: Michael Ballé | April 14, 2015
"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 »
Shigeo Shingo's Influence on the Toyota Production System
By: Art Smalley; | January 12, 2009
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 as the chief architect of the Toyota Production System (TPS). He also coordinated the work of Shigeo Shingo, an outside consultant and TPS contributor. Kato sat down with Art Smalley for this Q&A about the roles of Shingo, Ohno, Sakichi Toyoda, and Kiichiro Toyoda about the early development of TPS.  Kato’s comments in the Q&A led to a response on the Superfactory site from Norman Bodek, the first publisher More »
Why Toyota Won and How Toyota Can Lose
By: Womack, Jim | April 4, 2007
Columns; eLetters
Simon & Schuster has just re-issued The Machine That Changed the World, which Dan Jones, Dan Roos, and I co-authored 17 years ago. Doubtless, our publisher has noticed the current Toyota boom when any book with "Toyota" on the cover sells.  Fortunately, Machine is still the best description of the complete Toyota business system – product development, supplier management, dealing with the customer, fulfilling orders from raw materials through production, and management of the global enterprise. It still has a story to tell. As new CEO Alan Mulally remarked to Ford employees when he arrived in Detroit last fall, it More »
Here’s to Toyota
By: Womack, Jim | April 15, 2003
Columns; eLetters
More than twenty years ago Dan Jones and I made an important discovery. On a trip to Japan we concluded that there was really no “Japan, Inc.  ” or standardized way of doing business. Instead there were many companies pursuing a variety of approaches, some very good and some mediocre. Most important, we concluded that best of the best was Toyota. This company, rather than anything generically “Japanese”, became our image of the business system to copy or exceed.  In the years since we reached this conclusion, we’ve often wondered what would happen to the lean movement if Toyota faltered. More »
Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System
By: Steven J. Spear and H. Kent Bowen | September 1, 1999
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 controlled experiments based on the scientific method. (Follow the link for how to obtain the full article from HBR.  ) More »
The Evolution of a Manufacturing System at Toyota
By: Takahiro Fujimoto | March 1, 1999
How did the Toyota Production System become the Toyota Production System – luck, manufacturing genius, trial and error, deliberate contemplation? Fujimoto explores and answers this dynamic and fascinating evolution. More »
How A Complete Lean Production System Fuels Global Success
By: James P. Womack | July 22, 2020
In this article prepared for the 2007 relaunch of the seminal book The Machine that Changed the World, co-author Jim Womack correctly forecast Toyota's rise, and identifes the key elements of a dynamic lean production system. More »
From Troubleshooting a Leaky Toilet Flapper to Innovating the Internet, a Comprehensive Problem-Solving Framework
By: Chet Marchwinski and Art Smalley | November 27, 2019
Arriving at his hotel after midnight, author and business consultant Art Smalley just wanted to get some sleep before his keynote presentation later that day. But Smalley, whose latest book on #lean management is "Four Types of Problems," first had to solve a problem. More »
Change Your “Pet” Problem Solving Method
By: Art Smalley | May 20, 2019
Got problems with your problem-solving method? This interview by LEI's Chet Marchwinski with Four Types of Problems author Art Smalley shares advice on how you can "change your 'pet' problem-solving method.  " More »
The Cascade of Hoshin
By: James P. Womack | August 3, 2018
Toyota President Akio Toyoda and the senior leadership team have decided that the simultaneous emergence of autonomy, alternative energy, shared assets, and hyper-connectivity are collectively creating a “once-in-a-century disruption” in the auto industry as it transitions to a mobility industry, commonly termed Mobility 2.  0. Jim Womack shares how they are using hoshin to tackle this. More »
Lean Lessons from Japan: Day One
By: Lean Leaper | June 25, 2018
This week, LEI is in Japan with 19 eager learners. The purpose of this trip is not just to see Just-In-Time. The purpose is to understand the social and technical context that gave birth to and continues to develop lean. Please visit the Post for a daily selection of postcards that share what we are learning. More »
Tesla vs. TPS: Seeking the Soul in the New Machine
By: Jeffrey Liker | March 2, 2018
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 »
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways – on a Valentine’s Day A3
By: Ernie Richardson and Tracey Richardson | February 14, 2018
The question lean practitioners Tracy and Ernie Richardson get more than any other isn’t about problem-solving, takt time, standardization, or their book. It’s about their “lean” marriage. More »
Thank you, Tatsuro Toyoda
By: John Y. Shook | January 8, 2018
John Shook remembers the late Tatsuro Toyoda, former president of Toyota. More »
Shook Addresses Current State of Lean Thinking After U.S-Turkey Tiff Compels Keynote Countermeasure
By: John Y. Shook | December 14, 2017
Indefatigable presenter John Shook quickly made this video as a countermeasure to being denied entry to Turkey, where he was scheduled to keynote an Istanbul conference. More »
How Team Leaders Should Divide Their Time
By: Andrew Quibell | May 3, 2017
"Through my career, I’ve seen one group of individuals on the shop floor who need the most support and training – yet instead receive weak training and inconsistent support. They are 'team leaders,'" writes Andrew Quibell. In his new sketch and animation, Quibell lays out a time-tested, Toyota-inspired plan to help these essential team leaders hold their own in times of minimal support. More »
Reflecting to Learn: Takeaways and Reflections on the A3 Process
By: John Y. Shook | August 3, 2016
In the wake of yesterday's interview with Mr. Isao Yoshino on the roots of the A3 process at Toyota, LEI Chairman and CEO John Shook shares more context about A3s and how they came to be. More »
The Importance of Team Leaders on the Shop Floor
By: Andrew Quibell | January 26, 2016
Why does upper management often fail to invest in team leaders on the shop floor? Andrew Quibell has his money on a lack of perspective. Check out his newest sketch on the critical importance of this key lean role and why there's no underestimating its function in a lean system. More »
No Shortcuts: Creating a Lean Environment the Right Way
By: Michael Ballé | January 19, 2016
As much as we may wish there was a way to pull off a lean transformation with only a basic knowledge of its ideals, there isn't one. Michael Ballé explains why investing the time it takes to fully learn lean is worth every second you put into it. It may take a while, but the benefits will speak for themselves. More »
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