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Toyota Production System (TPS)

Embracing Excellence: The Toyota Production System and Its Global Journey

What if I told you a production system was implemented and it revolutionized the industry to such a degree that the entire world started using it? Fit for the perfect quality, productivity and sustainable improvements, the Toyota Production System , also known as TPS, is a masterpiece of modern manufacturing.

It is an accomplishment of the three brightest minds in manufacturing: Eiji Toyoda, Kiichiro Toyoda, and Taiichi Ohno . This system is more than just a methodology in manufacturing. It is a philosophy striving Toyota to be the best.

The Dual Pillars of TPS: Just in Time and Jidoka

At the heart of TPS lie two foundational principles that have become the guiding stars for organizations striving for operational excellence:

1. Just in Time: The Art of Efficiency

With Just in Time, you will be precise. You will give precisely what is needed, when it is needed, and exactly how much money is going to be needed.

It’s not the same as minimizing waste; instead, it entails ensuring your processes are in harmony with your customers’ requirements. It’s equal to a four-star cook whipping up a meal with freshly prepared components as they’re required.

2.Jidoka: The Science of Perfection

Automation with a human touch is Jidoka, and it aims to instill quality in every aspect of the production process. The process stops when a problem occurs, blocking the movement of a defective product through the line.

It is to manufacture what the proofreader is to catch a typo before the book goes to print: what goes to the customer is perfect.

TPS Goes West: The Evolution into T-TPS

However, as Toyota expanded outside of Japan, the company realized that TPS needed to be modified to be consistent with the cultural specifics of a Western employee.

This situation led to a creation of a new concept called Total-TPS or T-TPS . Given the name, it is clear that T-TPS means a more massive focus on employees and their capabilities.

The Eight Wastes: TIMWOODS

The visionary behind the system, Taiichi Ohno, identified eight types of waste that TPS is meant to eliminate. These are overproduction, waiting, transport, overprocessing, inventory, motion, defects, and underutilized skills, conveniently remembered by the mnemonic device known as TIMWOODS . T

hese aspects are the enemies of efficiency and the precursors of disorder, so their eradication is the first order of business on the path toward a leanness.

Beyond Waste: Understanding Mura and Muri

However, TPS does not forget mura and a muri . Real efficiency is achievable only if the workloads are balanced and nothing is overburdened: neither the machine nor the person.

The concurrent approach allows ensuring both the process’s efficiency and the health of the people involved in it.

Jidoka in Depth: Building Quality In

The principle contained in jidoka is that quality cannot be checked into a product; it should be built from the outset .

It enables each worker to take on the burden of quality of their performance and contains specific checks to prevent production when detected. In other words, only genuinely accomplished products are performed onto the next action.

The Legacy of TPS

The Toyota Production System is more than an incredible collection of ideas; it’s proof that innovation, ongoing transformation, and a desire to be the best can have a significant impact. The lessons of TPS are relevant to every work, from manufacturing to services and everywhere in between.

It’s about not making mistakes, about seeing people well above everything else, and about always, always shooting for something better.

TPS remains a shining example of excellence within the fierce global marketplace and the highest customer expectations. Although simple in theory, its guiding principles remain surprisingly comprehensive.

For inspiration as we prepare for the future, we will remember the increased efficiency, quality, and continual improvement process that TPS embodies and practice to succeed.

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