The Toyota Production System (TPS) is a production system steeped in the philosophy of the complete elimination of all waste and that imbues all aspects of production with this philosophy in pursuit of the most efficient production method. Toyota Motor Corporation’s vehicle production system is a way of making things that is sometimes referred to as a lean manufacturing system and has come to be well known and studied worldwide. This production control system has been established based on many years of continuous improvements, with the objective of making the vehicles ordered by customers in the quickest and most efficient way, in order to deliver the vehicles as quickly as possible.
Toyota has introduced new technologies including one of the first mass-produced hybrid gas-electric vehicles, Advanced Parking Guidance System, a four-speed electronically controlled automatic with buttons for power and economy shifting, and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Toyota, and Toyota-produced Lexus and Scion automobiles have consistently ranked near the top in certain quality and reliability surveys.
Toyota is one of the largest companies to push hybrid vehicles in the market and the first to commercially mass-produce and sell such vehicles, an example being the Toyota Prius. The Prius has become the top selling hybrid car in America. This technology is the most widely tolled-out environment-friendly system in the automotive industry to date. Toyota’s CEO has committed to making every Toyota a hybrid vehicle eventually. Hybrids are viewed by some automakers as a core segment of the future vehicle market.
Another success factor for Toyota is that it offers a full line of cars for the U.S. market, from family sedans to sport utility vehicles to trucks to minivans. Toyota also has products for different price points, from lower-cost Scions to mid-priced Camry’s to the luxury Lexus. Designing these different products means listening to different customers, building the cars they want, then crafting the marketing to reinforce each make’s image. Along with its reputation for building a quality vehicle, Toyota’s keys to success include a flexibility its U.S. rivals don’t have. A big reason for Toyota’s success is its manufacturing. Toyota’s combination of manufacturing speed and flexibility is world class. Its plants can make as many as eight different models at the same time, which brings Toyota huge increases in productivity and market responsiveness. While many things have changed over time, the same founding spirit has always guided Toyota throughout its 70-year history. That is to never forget the spirit of its founding, and create a new history that puts the customer first. In the last few months of 2007, Toyota had been beset by a variety of troubles, including departures from its North American unit by several top executives; slumping sales; and condemnation from environmentalists, who’ve challenged the company’s commitment to fighting global warming. Most serious have been rising concerns over the reliability of Toyota’s vehicles. A series of high-profile recalls in the last couple years have also tarnished the Toyota Production System, long the envy of the world. Toyota has downplayed many of its problems, contending that as it continues to prosper, more and more people are quick to criticize it. Due to its size and growth, Toyota has felt particularly vulnerable to any possible trade retaliation. Like many Asian carmakers, Toyota has hired Washington lobbyists and invested billions in new plants in the United States...