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What is the Toyota Production System? The big picture of TPS

What is the Toyota Production System? The big picture of TPS
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What is the Toyota Production System...

This post is about the entire picture of the Toyota Production System (TPS) introducing ‘The House of Toyota Production System’ which consists of Toyota’s Goal and strategies.

(Duration: 6:17)

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The House of Toyota Production System

Hi, this is Mike Negami, Lean Sigma Black Belt.

This time I received a very challenging request.

TPS Video Request

“Can you also make one video explaining the entire lean manufacturing?”

Shah, thank you very much for your video request.

Toyota Production System AKA TPS has a lot of very deep and important contents. It’s very challenging to talk about it in a short video. We’ll see a lot of TPS jargon, but I’ve made videos to explain many of those and card links will appear above during this video. Click those and watch the videos for details.

Please look at this image below. This image accurately represents the big picture of the TPS.

The Tree of TPS

This figure is the house of the Toyota Production System made by Toyota’s former chairman, Fujio Cho. He used to be a disciple of Taiichi Ohno.

The reason a house is used as symbol is that a house’s every part such as a roof, pillars, foundation, doesn’t exist independently from each other, but is closely related for the common purpose, for example: “for people to live comfortably””. This figure represents each element of TPS’s structure like a house.

Toyota’s Goal and Tow Pillars, JIT and Jidoka

The roof represents Toyota’s goal, which is ‘Best Quality, Lowest Cost, Shortest Lead Time, Best Safety and High Morale””. They’ve defined that they’ll achieve it ‘through shortening the production flow by eliminating waste’.

The house has two large pillars. They are ‘Just In Time’ and ‘Jidoka’ which is Autonomation.

The Tree of TPS

Just In Time

Just In Time is the philosophy of producing or procuring ‘the right items at the right time in the right amounts’. Please click on the link above for details. Tools to realize Just In Time are the ‘Kanban System’ and ‘One-Piece Flow’.

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They make a factory flow in a steady rhythm according to customer demand. Toyota calls the rhythm ‘Takt Time’, which contributes to the whole factory having a great team play.

Toyota’s Jidoka (Autonomation)

The other pillar, Jidoka is the philosophy of ‘making quality within the process by stopping the machine automatically when abnormality occurs’. It’s Autonomation, but different from automation. Tools to realize Jidoka are ‘Andon’ and ‘Poka Yoke’.

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Since there are fewer in-process inventories in Just In Time, when one section had some abnormality and stopped working, it would affect the entire factory immediately. Therefore, it’s required to maintain the highest quality so there is always no abnormality in any process.

Although paradoxically, they stop the line where the abnormality occurred and immediately their managers rush there to find the root cause of the abnormality.  Then, they consider preventive measures for the incident and incorporate it into their standard operating procedure.  In this way, Jidoka is a system for them to improve their own process.

The substance of Jidoka

Just In Time nurtures team play while Jidoka is the engine of continuous improvement. Therefore, if neither lacking, the Toyota Production System doesn’t come into effect.

Toyota’s Continuous Improvement Measure, ‘Thorough Elimination of Waste’

In the middle of this house is ‘Continuous Improvement’ (See the image below). Everything in the world changes at a great speed. Toyota cannot achieve the goal in the roof unless they continually improve themselves.

‘People and Teamwork’ leads Continuous Improvement. In fact, the two pillars, Just In Time and Jidoka themselves, are equipped with a mechanism to develop human resources at the same time.

Also, the fundamental method of conducting Continuous Improvement in Toyota is ‘Thorough Elimination of Waste’. Toyota defines the identity of waste as the ‘7 Wastes’.  For thorough elimination, it’s necessary to pin down the root cause of each waste. So, they use the ‘5-Why Analysis’.

The Tree of TPS

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Their employees, even senior managers, practice ‘Genchi Genbutsu’, which is going to the front line to see the reality, avoiding a desk plan, and utilizing an ‘A3 Report’ for problem solving.

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TPS’s fundations, ‘Heijunka’, ‘Standardization of Processes’, ‘Visual Management’ and ‘the Toyota Way’

Toyota has the words, ‘Mura, Muri, Muda’, which are, ‘Unevenness, Overburden and Waste’. If there is Unevenness, it will cause overburden. Then, Overburden makes Waste. Therefore, unevenness is the root cause. They apply ‘Heijunka’, which is Production Leveling, in every step to prevent Unevenness.  That is the foundation of the TPS house.

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Moreover, what supports all of the above is ‘Standardization of Processes’, ‘Visual Management’ and the core foundation is Toyota’s philosophy called ‘the Toyota Way’.

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By the way, this book titled ‘The Toyota Way’ by Jeffrey K, Liker (Pg. 33), shows today’s contents. I recommend you read it.

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