What you need to know about the Toyota Production System

Today, the greatest manufacturing companies around the world are increasing their competitiveness through multiple ways, reducing costs and improving their processes, which makes our world very dynamic. One of the best ways to reach efficiency for procedures enhancement is to be focused on the elimination of futility and uselessness elements in the production methods, in other words, organizations must reduce everything they can in all their manufacturing processes to be more competitive and add value to their customers.

Understanding what we have said before, we can talk about lean manufacturing and the Toyota Production System (TPS). These concepts refer to implemented methodologies for removing every waste element in the manufacturing system adding value to customers. Put differently, lean production is the way how a specific company concentrates all its energies in what creates value for clients, avoiding what do not.

The Toyota Production System

The concept of lean production is very related with the TPS, due to its approach in the elimination of waste elements in every process stage. The TPS was created by Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Motor Corporation in 1936. Toyoda started to study every production phase in his company, to redesign and apply what was useful in the production line and eliminating what was not.

Related: The most important tools used in Kaizen by David Kiger

At the beginning, this concept was called just-in-time production, but passing the years it was better known as the Toyota Production System.

The Toyota Production System established seven goals and six principles.

Toyota Production System goals

As we mentioned before, the main purpose of this methodology is to eliminate those elements which do not give value for clients, keeping those what do it. To acquire this objective, the TPS methodology establishes seven goals.

  1. Waste of overproduction: this concept refers to the elimination of the production what companies do not need, in other words, this goal approach is to produce only what they need, not more not less.
  2. Waste of time: reducing dead times increases production. Basically, if a business produces at the appropriate times, it will be avoiding unnecessary costs, which means major efficiency and effectiveness.
  3. Waste of transportation: if some production stage implicates transport, the company must use it in the most accurate way. That is to say, businesses should use it when they really need to, not every time they have to.
  4. Waste of processing: for adding value, companies must redesign their processes to do what is needed a unique time, avoiding re-processes.
  5. Waste of stock: every business must keep their inventories in the precise levels. Having this, companies will save costs in storage. Besides, they will not be producing products that customers will not need.
  6. Waste of movement: the movement for companies means costs, so they should keep in mind what is the best way to produce efficiency moving as little as possible.
  7. Waste of making defective products: to do this is very important because it is the way how companies will avoid to produce a specific item multiple times. In other words, watching every manufacturing phase to eliminate defects will save budgets to organizations.

In conclusion, these seven goals are the support to achieve the waste reduction. Every one of them helps organizations to know and see where they have to improve to exclude what to keep off them from adding value.

warehouse_lean-manufacturing_just-in-time_toyota
Image courtesy of josh s jackson at Flickr.com

Toyota Production System principles

  1. Continuous improvement: the TPS method was designed to keep the best quality and control in company’s processes. Put differently, this methodology seeks nonstop progress in organizations, letting them be better in what they do more and more.
  2. Respect for people: this is one of the most important principles because persons are the main resource in every company, so all their rights and needs must be considered and taken into account for their personal and professional growth.
  3. Durable philosophy: the TPS technique is a long-term process. It takes time, so companies and people should be prepared for not quick results.
  4. Right processes, right results: as we mentioned above, a well-designed process will save companies time and money, giving them better outcomes and knowledge in what they need to improve.
  5. Add value to the organization by developing your people and partners: this principle is very related with the second one. Companies are not self-structures, they involve people from many places so if the human resource feels important, it will give better results to benefit the company.
  6. Solving root problems gives organizational learning: companies must act in a proactive way, not in a reactive one. If they know the causes for a specific problem, the will be resolving once and for all what will affect production in the future.

In conclusion, lean manufacturing and the TPS are related concepts that let companies to dedicate and concentrate all their struggles in the strengthen of what really adds value to clients, eluding those things that do not.

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