The Toyota Way: Manufacturing Tools for Continuous Improvement

Lean manufacturing gained popularity during the onset of the Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS was established by automobile manufacturer Toyota and is comprised of focal points and a set of principles known as The Toyota Way.

The Toyota Way’s focal points include continuous improvement and respect for people. Continuous improvement recognizes that manufacturers regularly face challenges, and challenges could be overcome by creating a long-term vision and following-through manufacturing processes with courage and creativity. Respect for people emphasizes that appreciation and teamwork are essential to any manufacturer. Employees must respect others, make an effort to understand colleagues, and build trusting professional relationships. Furthermore, personal and professional growth is important, as well as sharing development opportunities to maximize individual and team performance. Overall, these focal points are the framework to The Toyota Way principles.

The Toyota Way Principles: A Summary

Long-term philosophy
Manufacturers should manage their organization with a long-term vision, because employees need purpose to find motivation and establish goals at the workplace.

The right process will produce the right results
Creating a continuous process flow will bring problems to the surface. For example, manufacturers should use reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves its employees and operations; establish a production process that improves and maintains a high level of production; and standardize tasks to build a foundation for continuous improvement. By building a culture that fixes problems, manufacturers can get quality products and end results right from the start.

Add value to the organization by developing your people and partners
According to The Toyota Way, successful manufacturers develop exceptional people and teams who follow company philosophy. It is important to aid in employee development by challenging them, providing them the means to improve, and giving them the time to understand their work and the ability to teach others.

Continuously solving root problems drives organizational learning
To have continuous improvement, a manufacturer has to become a learning organization and make decisions by thoroughly considering all options.
The Toyota Way is seen as a manufacturing system that eliminates waste, because waste does not advance manufacturing processes or increase added value. Resultantly, manufacturers have observed Toyota’s principles and are evolving their operational approach, whether it is to be lean, integrate additionally actions within their core operations, or establish their own series of lean practices.

Interested in learning more about operational challenges manufacturers face and key strategies companies plan to adopt? Download our exclusive eBook Evaluating Key Trends in Global Logistics.

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