Category Archives: Toyota

Any posts related to companies from the Toyota Group, including Toyota Motor, Denso, etc., and its people.

Toyota’s and Denso’s Relentless Quest for Lot Size One

Relay Race Hand Over
Just when you need it …

A famous step toward perfection in a lean production system is a lot size of one. However, few people realize what enormous effort and rigor Toyota applies to achieve this goal. During my visit to a Toyota plant and the APMS conference in Tokyo  in 2015, I saw quite a few stunning examples of this quest. Let me show you … Continue reading Toyota’s and Denso’s Relentless Quest for Lot Size One

The History of Manufacturing – Part 4: Toyota and Lean

Toyota LogoMost of our prosperity and wealth is based on our ability to manufacture faster, better, and cheaper than ever before.To announce the publication of my first book Faster, Better, Cheaper” in the History of Manufacturing: From the Stone Age to Lean Manufacturing and Beyond here is the fourth and last  post of a series with a brief version of the History of Manufacturing. In this post I would like to talk about Toyota and its Toyota Production System, the archetype of lean Production, and also about computers and automation. Continue reading The History of Manufacturing – Part 4: Toyota and Lean

On the Benefits of a Pencil in Lean

Pen vs Pencil
Pen or pencil?

In many lean books and other writing, it is often recommended to use a pencil for certain tasks as, for example, the A3 report. Yet, I have seen very few uses of pencil in lean manufacturing in the Western world. Most of the documents are computer printouts based on Excel, PowerPoint, or Word. The few handwritten documents are usually done in pen (see also my post on The Advantage of Handwritten Data on the Shop Floor).

In this post I will look into why almost nobody uses pencils and why it would be good to use more pencils. I myself am also guilty of that, but I plan indeed to use more pencil in the future. Continue reading On the Benefits of a Pencil in Lean

Taiichi Ohno’s Chalk Circle

Chalk CircleOne of the famous teaching methods by Taiichi Ohno is the chalk circle. The method itself is simple. A circle is drawn on the shop floor near a point of interest. A disciple is put in the circle and told not to leave it until he is picked up again by the teacher.

In this post I will explain a bit about the chalk circle, how to use it for teaching, and how to use it for yourself. Continue reading Taiichi Ohno’s Chalk Circle

American Automotive Market Strategy of Toyota and Others

Major Car MakersThe largest ten car makers sell over 200 different car models on the US market. Without vans, SUVs, and sport cars, there are still 100 consumer cars left. Toyota has the largest number with a total of 14 models, yet they still have an excellent market strategy and very little self cannibalization. BMW has much fewer models, yet still manages to cannibalize itself. GM has 13 models and also steps on its own toes, while completely missing another market segment. This post is based on a master’s thesis of one of my students, Amir Javanshir, and the detailed source is at the end of the article. Continue reading American Automotive Market Strategy of Toyota and Others

Pay Attention to Details – Operator Training at Toyota and Scania

It’s all in the details…

Often, implementing “lean” means management is picking the latest lean-related buzzword and telling their people to implement it. This is wrong on so many levels. For one, a lean project should always start with a problem, not a solution. On another level, good manufacturing is all about the nitty-gritty details. Both normal operations and improvement projects need a lot of attention to details. Unfortunately, this is frequently lacking in many companies. In this post I would like to show you the level of detail for operator training in some excellent companies. Continue reading Pay Attention to Details – Operator Training at Toyota and Scania

Twenty-five Years after Ohno – A Look Back

Taiichi Ohno
Taiichi Ohno, Father of the Toyota Production System

Twenty-five years ago today, on May 28, 1990, Taiichi Ohno passed away. While he was not the only person behind the Toyota Production System, he was its key driver and is considered the father of the Toyota Production System. To commemorate the anniversary, let’s have a look back at his life, and also at how lean changed after he passed away.

To produce only what is needed, when it is needed and in the amount needed. (Taiichi Ohno)

Continue reading Twenty-five Years after Ohno – A Look Back

Definition of Lean Production

Lean production Tag Cloud
What exactly is it?

As the name says, this site is all about lean manufacturing. But, what is lean? How do we define lean manufacturing? After all, since most of industry talks about lean, we should have a definition to make sure that we’re all talking about the same thing. Unfortunately, a) we do not have a good definition of lean, and b) not everybody means the same thing when they talk about lean. So, what could lean manufacturing mean? Let’s have a look at the different definitions out there: Continue reading Definition of Lean Production