How to Do a Lean Transformation – The Toyota Approach

Companies continuously need to improve to survive. Lean can help them with this continuous improvement, so many companies aspire to become lean. The question is, how do you do that? How do you do a lean transformation, or more generally a change management? In this post I would like to talk about what is needed for a company to start their journey to lean. Be warned, it is not easy, and it does require a lot of support from the very top.

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Toyota’s Six Rules for Kanban

Simple Kanban LoopThe kanban system is the most famous way to establish a pull system. As part of their guidelines for kanban, Toyota has established Six Rules for Kanban. They can be found, for example, in the 1973 Toyota Production System Handbook. This blog post describes these six rules, based on the Toyota handbook. While these rules are all true, they are in themselves not sufficient to establish a kanban pull production. Nevertheless, this post will show you these six rules.

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The Toyoda Model G Loom (with Videos)

Toyota Motor originated from the Toyoda loom factory, where Sakichi Toyoda invented looms. Probably the most famous one is the Toyoda Model G Automatic Loom. This loom touches on many points that are part of the Toyota Production System and lean manufacturing. During my last visit to Japan in September, I made some videos detailing many of the features of the Toyoda Automatic Loom from 1924. Be advised: Lots of images and videos ahead!

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Hoshin Kanri and the Kanri Noryoku Program: Rejuvenating Toyota

In my previous posts I explained how Hoshin Kanri works. This post looks at how Toyota embeds Hoshin Kanri as part of their overall management structure. Toyota started this in 1979 when director Masao Nemoto started the Kanri Noryoku Program (管理能力プログラム), usually shortened to KanPro.

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Examples of Jidoka

In my last two posts I talked a lot about what jidoka is, and the underlying philosophy. Many articles do so. But there are almost no actual examples out there of jidoka. But without examples it is difficult to really understand a concept. A great historic example of this is the Toyoda Model G automatic loom from 1925. This is well known, but here I would like to show you how it connects to jidoka. I will also give you a more modern example of a product that you may even own.

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The Philosophy and Practicality of Jidoka

In my last post I explained what jidoka is (at least in my view). The key part is to stop the line for any irregularity, and resolve the problem.  Also try to make sure this irregularity does not happen again. However, this definition is far from universally accepted, and there are many different opinions. Here I will try to show the philosophical idea behind Jidoka as one of the two pillars of the Toyota Production System (the other is JIT).

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What Exactly Is Jidoka?

Jidoka is a term commonly used in lean manufacturing, and widely considered one of the pillars of the Toyota Production System, the other being Just in Time (JIT). However, while the word jidoka is often used to impress others, the ideas behind it are much less frequently found outside of Toyota. Maybe this is because so many people interpret jidoka differently. In this first post of a three post series on jidoka, we look at what jidoka actually is.

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Toyota Standard Work – Part 3: Standard Work Layout

This post is the third in this series on how Toyota plans standard work. The first one was the production capacity sheet to define what capacity you have available. The second one was a standard work combination table to define when the operator is doing what. Finally, the third of the “famous three slips”, presented in this post, is a standard work layout sheet to help the layout and arrangement of the machines.

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