The Toyota Production System Model of Excellence

The organizations that successfully implemented lean manufacturing develop their own "operating system" modeled on the Toyota Production System (TPS). They study and understand the system, adapt it to their own business, rename it and take ownership for developing their model.

The Toyota Production System is constantly evolving, based on the fundamental principles of respect for people and kaizen (continuous improvement) and towards the ideal condition which can:

  • Make what the customer needs, at the right time and in the right amount 
  • Minimize inventories of all types
  • Build quality into the process and prevent errors from happening 
  • Separate machine work from human work and fully utilize both 
  • Reduce change over times and lead-times 
  • Respond flexibly to customer demands and schedule changes 
  • Produce a high mix of low volume products efficiently 

The sub-systems and improvement tools within the TPS house are the building blocks for a world class operating system that continuously improves by engaging people to find creative ways to cut out waste.

Left Pillar

Just-in-Time (Takt-Flow-Pull)

  • Eliminate the 7 types of wastes
  • Create a smooth flow of material and information
  • Synchronize and balances workflow
  • Minimize inventory, space and lead-time
  • Make progress of work more visible
Right Pillar

Jidoka (Autonomation)

  • Build quality into the process 
  • Separate man & machine work
  • Use intelligent low-cost automation
  • Mistake-proof equipment 
  • Make problems more visible
  • Make equipment safer and more reliable

 Standardized Work

  • Document the best current method
  • Set foundation for improvement
  • Make standard visible
  • Kaizen (continuous improvement)
  • Treat people with respect
  • Value everyone's ideas
  • Make small improvements every day

Heijunka (Leveling)

  • Average mix and volume
  • Stabilize production schedule variability
  • Reduce total Lead-time
  • Coordinate sales, scheduling, and customer needs

Human Development

People are at the center of the Toyota Production System. Developing people is both a result and an essential input for a world class operating system such as TPS. Another name for TPS is the Thinking People System because that is what is required to sustain it. 

  • Key elements of human development within TPS include:
  • Team design, teamwork and team leader roles & responsibilities
  • Training Within Industry (TWI)
  • Practical problem solving
  • Suggestion system

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