Toyota did not start out as a lean company, but evolved over time. This was also not an automatic process. It needed a lot of care and attention, as well as continuous improvement and PDCA. This is the second post of this short, two-post series on the path of Toyota from a messy and hard-to-manage job shop to a much more efficient flow shop.
When setting up a new production – or even when rearranging an existing production – one important decision is how to arrange your processes. I have written a lot on line layout, but this post will look at how the arrangement of lines evolved at Toyota. Some of their insights are now accepted wisdoms in lean, but many companies still struggle with it. This post also looks into the manning of machines, especially multi-machine handling. The blog post is based on the appendix in the Toyota Handbook from 1973.