An introduction to the Toyota Production System (TPS)
The Toyota Production system is a major precursor of Lean Manufacturing. Founded on the conceptual pillars of 'Just-in-time' and 'Jidoka' (or, Automation with a Human Touch), the system was first built off the approach created by the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda and his son, Kiichiro Toyoda.
Read More: What is Lean?
The Goals of the Toyota Production System
The main target of the Toyota Production is to eliminate 3 key issues: Overburden, Inconsistency, and Waste - or 'Muri', 'Mura' and 'Muda', respectively. Theoretically, process improvement working like so:
- A process is created that is easily repeated, and provides results smoothly, thus eliminating Inconsistency in the production line (Muri).
- This reduction in Inconsistency minimises Stress, or Overburden (Mura), as there are less mistakes being made.
- The lack of Stress in turn massively reduces Waste (Muda), which is considered to occur in 8 forms:
- Waste of overproduction (this is the worst kind of Muda)
- Waste of time on hand (waiting for responses or products or parts)
- Waste of transportation
- Waste of overprocessing
- Waste of stock/inventory
- Waste of movement
- Waste of making defective products
- Waste of underutilized workers
Toyota Production System: Case Study
Building the Fit Organization, or; Taking the Toyota Out of Lean
Dan Markovitz, Founder/President of Markovitz Consulting, Author
The corporate landscape is full of Operational Excellence companies that have failed in their pursuit of the ‘Toyota Way.’
Trying to be like Toyota is a mistake. A “fit” organization has the ability to continually improve in a manner that delivers superior performance and results over the long haul.
This Operational Excellence example study, based on the Shingo Research Award-winning book, "Building the Fit Organization," distills the lessons from the Toyota Production System into six core concepts, in the easily understandable language of physical fitness and athletic excellence—no Japanese, no English jargon, and no references to Toyota. Give your team the knowledge to be faster, more competitive, and better able to win in your market.
The Two Pillars of TPS: Just in Time and Jidoka
The Toyota Production System is grounded on two main conceptual pillars:
Just-in-time – or, "Making only what is needed, only when it is needed, and only in the amount that is needed"
With 'Just in Time', a product is efficiently built within the shortest possible period of time by adhering to the following:
- When an order is received, a message to start the process must be sent to the beginning of the production line as soon as possible.
- The assembly line must be stocked with no more or less than the required number of all needed parts so that any type of product available can be assembled quickly.
- The assembly line must replace the parts used by retrieving the same number of parts from the parts-producing process - this way, only what is needed is replaced, and over-stocking is reduced.
- The preceding process must be consist of small numbers of all types of parts, producing only the numbers of parts that were retrieved by an operator from the next process.
Jidoka – (Autonomation) or, "Automation with a human touch"
For the Just-in-Time system to function, all parts that made and supplied must be meeting predetermined quality standards. This is achieved through Jidoka.
- Jidoka means that a machine stops safely, as soon as the normal processing is completed. It also means that if a quality / equipment problem arises, the machine will be able to detect the defect on its own and stop, preventing more defective products from being produced, thus reducing Muda. As a result, only products satisfying quality standards will be passed on to the following processes on the production line, preventing a pile up of malfunctioning products.
- As the machine automatically stops when processing is completed or when a problem arises and is communicated quickly, operators can confidently continue working away at another machine, as well as easily identifying the cause of the problem. This means that each operator can be in charge of many machines, resulting in higher productivity, while continuous improvements lead to greater processing capacity.