14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer
Toyota and TPS, bywords for Lean; how does Toyota do want it does and how did it get there? If you want to know then this book by Jeffrey K. Liker is the place to start
I've been interested in reading this book for a while but thought I would look for it on a recent US trip and came up trumps (!) in a Barnes & Noble book store. I read digital stuff all the time but I still love a physical book like I still like playing vinyl records but listen to digital.
As I say in the above if you want to know the who, why, how, what, when and where TPS and the Toyota way of thinking came from then this is it. Prof Jeffrey K. Liker has over 20 years of knowledge working alongside and interviewing all the main protagonists inside Toyota and its supply chain.
In it he sets about revealing the 14 Management Principles behind their system of Lean production and from that you can learn about how Toyota has developed Lean learning environments in their facilities.
The book is presented in three parts: Pt 1: The World Class Power of the Toyota Way Pt 2: Business Principles of the Toyota Way Pt 3: Applying the Toyota Way in Your Organisation.
Part 1 starts with some history and Sakichi Toyodas' weaving looms he developed around 1894, by 1926 he established The Toyoda Automatic Loom Works and in his studies Toyoda referenced "Self Help" by Samuel Smiles (1859) a book that helped inspire a young Sakichi in the first place. In the 1930s the fledgling Toyota Motor Corporation looked to Henry Ford and the 'new' mass production techniques, they had to adapt that strategy as they had a Japanese market that was much smaller than Fords in the US. They realised that 'one piece flow' was the key, it is often referenced to in Lean circles but to fully understand 'Flow" you really need to look back at the history of Toyota and how it came to call One Piece Flow a core principle. Flow was advocated in Fords' book Today & Tomorrow, but continuous flow was preached but not always practiced as Ford relied heavily on batch production building up work in progress and stock.
Creativity, Challenge and Courage: the Three C's* - Shoichiro Toyoda, former President, 1980s
Part 2 the Business Principles Toyota employs across its opertions including suppliers and partners putting external and internal customers first. Four sections take you through, i) Long Term Philosophy ii) Right Processes Produce the Right Results iii) Add Value by Developing Your People and Partners iv) Continuously Solving Root Problems Drives Organisational Learning. Great stuff and you start to get a feeling this is more than just 'tools' or 'processes', it feels more like 'life' and 'culture'; they live in TPS at Toyota.
In TPS first level the production flow then apply the pull system to balance production* - Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation
Part 3 Applying the Toyota Way in Your Organisation; examines case studies and how to implement TPS in service organisations. Kaisen workshops, value stream mapping expained, visual controls, what TPS is and what it is not, the importance of cultural change and some tips for making your company a learning enterprise.
TPS can be applied outside the shop floor, but this takes some creativity* - Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation
Summing up I can say it's a book that made me examine and think about TPS from a new perspective, Jeffrey Liker was able to use his unique insight shedding light on what makes The Toyota Way. Published in 2004 it would be interesting to see if the view on Toyota has changed in the past decade; TPS and Lean are still the go to philosophy for many organisations, I'm sure things have changed as you have to embrace change to learn and develop.
Jeffrey K. Liker is an advocate and self proclaimed fan of the Toyota Way, so much that I sometimes felt I was being sold Lean and TPS. I don't need to be sold either as I can vouch for what works and now understand more why some companies that try will never be able to realise the rewards of Lean learning; it's instilled in the Toyota Culture.
A recommended read for anyone in engineering or production of any sort, even service sectors could benefit. If you're considering or want to explore the ways of Lean, TPS, Kaisen, etc then The Toyota Way is a great place to start.
Thanks to Barnes & Noble of Las Vegas for stocking The Toyota Way on the shelf (a push system) and Jeffrey K. Liker the author for research and sharing the learnings.
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Thanks for taking the time to read this, cheers. Andy