The Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Overview and Toyota

Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive MapDuring Winter 2017–2018, I spent five months in Japan. As part of this visit, I was able to visit factories of all seven Japanese car makers as part of my Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive Plants.

This was extremely insightful, and I learned a lot about the differences between the Japanese car makers.  Let me give you an overview and some details on Toyota plants before firing off a series of blog posts on the different Japanese automotive companies.

Read moreThe Grand Tour of Japanese Automotive – Overview and Toyota

Continued Evolution of the Toyota Assembly Line

Toyota LogoToyota is one of the the most visionary car makers with respect to its manufacturing. They continuously and radically evolve and update their production system. Recently I learned about their new “flexible assembly line.” Now, you’ve probably heard about Toyota’s flexible assembly lines producing multiple products on the same line. That is old hat; they’ve done that for thirty years. Their new flexible assembly line involves a completely different aspect of flexibility, with which Toyota surprised me (again). Let me show you …

Read moreContinued Evolution of the Toyota Assembly Line

The Toyota Employee Evaluation System

Toyota LogoLike most companies, Toyota conducts an annual evaluation of the performance of their employees. Recently I got a chance to look at these evaluation sheets and take notes. There are some surprising differences in the evaluation by Toyota in comparison to the evaluation by most other companies.

Read moreThe Toyota Employee Evaluation System

Monozukuri – Japanese Work Ethics

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Japanese word monozukuri (sometimes written as 物作り, but most often written as ものづくり). Literally translated, it means to make (zukuri) things (mono). Yet, there is so much meaning lost in translation. A better translation would be “manufacturing; craftsmanship; or making things by hand.” However, this translation also does not give justice to the weight and influence this idea has in Japan. Let me take you on a tour of the Japanese culture of monozukuri.

Read moreMonozukuri – Japanese Work Ethics

150th Anniversary of the Birth of Sakichi Toyoda

Sakichi Toyoda
Sakichi Toyoda

Exactly 150 years ago, on February 14, 1867, Sakichi Toyoda (豊田 佐吉 Toyoda Sakichi)  was born. He is known in Japan as the King of Inventors (which is probably a bit of an exaggeration), father of the Japanese Industrial Revolution, and also the founder of the Toyota industrial empire. Time to take a look back in history on his life.

Read more150th Anniversary of the Birth of Sakichi Toyoda

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.

Read moreThe History of Manufacturing – Part 4: Toyota and 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.

Read moreTaiichi Ohno’s Chalk Circle