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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 chief engineers have no power? Really?
By: Michael Ballé | April 30, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We often hear that Toyota chief engineers have no power. Really? So how does that work? Why such an organization? What problem does it solve? 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. The verdict is in. And Toyota’s electronic throttle control system is fully exonerated More »
Toyota the Bad Guy
By: Shook, John | April 12, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Recently I am cornered frequently by beleaguered lean change agents eager to show me their scars inflicted by re-energized resistors. Lean naysayers have seized the Toyota crisis to resist change, admonishing: "You've been telling us to 'be like Toyota.  ' Look at them now!"  Don't lose heart. More »
Toyota Troubles: Fighting the Demons of Complexity
By: Shook, John | March 9, 2010
Columns; eLetters
An Interview with Professor Takahiro Fujimoto, Manufacturing Management Research Center, University of Tokyo More »
Toyota Trouble: A Dialogue with Jeff Liker (AKA the Coffee Shop Talks)
By: Shook, John | February 22, 2010
Columns; eLetters
With the appearance of Toyota's various quality and recall problems, Jeff Liker and I have been meeting in coffee shops in Ann Arbor to discuss (usually amiably) and debate (often vigorously) the dimensions of Toyota's crisis, whether it is really a crisis, and what it all might mean to the company and to the Toyota Way. We thought it would be interesting to capture some of our dialogue to share it with you here in this space. 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 »
Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 8: Toyota Coaching Practices
By: Lean Leaper | July 23, 2021
Art describes some of the fundamental principles of Toyota coaching practices. More »
Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 4: Supportive Style, from Basketball to Toyota
By: Art Smalley | February 5, 2021
Part four continues the series' trajectory of further contextualizing situational leadership and lean thinking. By picking personal examples from his life, Art Smalley guides you through anecdotes and explanations that will make situational leadership more applicable than you might think. More »
Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 2: Toyota, Taiichi, and TWI Job Instruction
By: Art Smalley | January 22, 2021
After the introduction to what situational leadership actually is, Art Smalley returns to run through some examples as to how this process of development has been, and continues to be, incredibly effective. Stay tuned for next week's episode as well, which will tackle further quadrants and coaching examples. 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 »
Why does visual management at a Toyota plant look so much different than at ours?
By: Michael Ballé | September 3, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: We have been deploying lean visual management in my company for a while now, and I am troubled because I finally visited a Toyota plant and found far fewer boards and papers on the walls than we use – we seem to cover every surface. It made me wonder whether we’re doing this right. More »
Why do you keep referring to Toyota; does it still matter?
By: Michael Balle | March 26, 2018
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach:  I’m very interested in lean, but fail to see why you guys keep referring to Toyota. What does a Toyota plant look like and why should it still matter? 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 »
Why do you lean experts still revere the Toyota Production System? Hasn't any one come up with something better?
By: Ballé, Michael | January 22, 2014
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach,Since Toyota formulated TPS 50 years ago, many other companies have come up with their own business systems – I have been taught the Nissan Production Way. Why do you lean experts still revere the Toyota Production System? Hasn't any one come up with something better? Is this just conservatism or ideology or do you actually have a reason to stick with TPS? More »
Is Toyota No Longer a Guiding Light?
By: Ballé, Michael | March 9, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Dear Gemba Coach: I'm the lean manager of a mid-sized company, and have been getting teased by many folks about Toyota's troubles. It's mostly good-natured, but I fear the public flogging gives nay-sayers an argument for not doing lean. So I am unclear about how to respond to these critics. What advice do you have on what I should tell my employees who are doing lean work? More »
Robert Cole's Observations on the Liker-Shook Dialogue regarding Toyota's Quality Crisis
By: Shook, John | March 2, 2010
Columns; eLetters
I have previously introduced readers of this column to Robert Cole, Professor Emeritus at Berkeley, former long-time professor at the University of Michigan, and currently Visiting Researcher at Doshisha University in Kyoto. I hope some of you saw the PBS video linked in last week's column that featured Bob in an insightful interview about the significance of NUMMI. More »
Don't Gloat Too Quickly - If This Could Happen to Toyota, It Could Happen to You ...
By: Shook, John | February 12, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Okay, so how do you respond to a "crisis"?  My recent encouragement to Toyota President Akio Toyoda that "It isn't the crisis, it's how you respond to it' was misunderstood by some. More »
Detroit Auto Show Overshadowed by Dr. Womack's Trashing of Toyota
By: Shook, John | January 25, 2010
Columns; eLetters
Jim Womack's most recent e-letter titled "Beyond Toyota" has sparked a lively and even rancorous debate. "We all, even including Toyota, need to go beyond Toyota," Jim wrote, adding, "the wonderful days of Toyota sweeping all before it as it reveals more and more aspects of its value-creating methods are done.  " 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 »
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. 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 »
Art of Lean on Problem-Solving, Part 7: Dreyfus Model and the Stages of Learning
By: Lean Leaper | July 8, 2021
Art looks at another external framework in an effort to help shorten your lead times of learning, development, and problem-solving. More »
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