Lean Manufacturing: Toyota Production System

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Lean Manufacturing and the Toyota Production System The use of the term "Lean", in a business or manufacturing environment, describes a philosophy that incorporates a collection of tools and techniques into the business processes to optimize time, human resources, assets, and productivity, while improving the quality level of products and services to their customers. Becoming "Lean" is a commitment to a process and a tremendous learning experience should you attempt to implement Lean principles and practices into your organization. The term Lean in the manufacturing environment also refers to the Toyota Production system established by the Toyota Corporation. Within the organization, four prominent gentlemen are credited with developing the system: Sakichi Toyoda, who founded the Toyoda Group in 1902; Kiichiro Toyoda, son of Sakichi Toyoda, who headed the automobile manufacturing operation between 1936 and 1950; Eiji Toyoda, Managing Director between 1950 and 1981 and Chairman between 1981 and 1994; and Taiichi Ohno, the Father of the Kanban System. Sakichi Toyoda invented a power loom in 1902 and in 1926 an automatic loom capable of detecting a snapped thread that automatically stopped the loom thus preventing production of poor quality. That same year, 1926, he founded the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works that manufactured automatic looms. In 1937, Sakichi sold his automatic loom patents to a company in England to finance an automobile manufacturing operation with his son Kiichiro managing the new venture. At the same time in Yokohama, Japan, the Ford Motor Company was building Model A cars and trucks with mixed models in a plant converted over from the Model T. At this time, Ford was the largest manufacturer of automobiles in Japan with General Motors as the second largest manufacturer, together producing over 90% of the vehicles manufactured in Japan. The new automotive venture for the Toyoda Group was risky. Kiichiro Toyoda, the son of Sakichi, who possessed a...
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