Toyota system

Topics: Lean manufacturing, Kaizen, Toyota Production System Pages: 67 (13573 words) Published: October 9, 2013
by Craig Larman and Bas Vodde
Version 1.5
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Craig Larman and Bas Vodde are the authors of Scaling Lean & Agile Development. They work as management coaches in organizations adopting lean thinking. For consulting or more information, please see and Note: Lean thinking and the Toyota Way are large subjects, spanning application to product development, service, sales, HR, and production, and spanning many functions: management, design, delivery, and more. We encourage deeper study; see Recommended Readings at the end.

• Introduction 2
• Lean Thinking: The Big Picture 3
• Background 7
• Lean Summary: The Lean Thinking House 8
• Lean Goal: Sustainably Deliver Value Fast 9
• Lean Foundation: Lean Thinking Manager-Teachers 10
• Pillar One: Respect for People 12
• Pillar Two: Continuous Improvement 14
• 14 Principles 25
• Lean Product Development 34
Copyright (c) Craig Larman & Bas Vodde 2009
All rights reserved


Lean Primer

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life,
unless I buy something.
—Jackie Mason

Lean thinking is a proven system that applies to product development and production, as evidenced by Toyota and others. And although most often applied to products, it is also used in service areas—both within Toyota and in domains such as health care1. The image and metaphor we like to convey a key thinking mistake—and opportunity—is the sport of relay racing. Consider the relay racers standing around waiting for the baton from their running colleague. The accountant in the finance department, looking aghast at this terrible underutilization ‘waste’ indicated in some report, would probably mandate a policy goal of “95% utilization of resources” to ensure all the racers are busy and ‘productive.’ Maybe—he suggests—the runners could run three races at the same time to increase “resource utilization,” or run up a mountain while waiting. Funny…but this kind of thinking lies behind much of traditional management and processes in development and other domains.2 Of course, in contrast, here is a central idea in lean thinking:

Watch the baton, not the runners.

1. For readers working in service domains, note that most lean principles are very general, such as continuous improvement mindset and manager-teachers who are workexperts and act as mentors. Some principles require minor translation, such as longterm great engineers to long-term great hands-on workers, or new product development to new service. 2. See, for example, PRTM [McGrath96, McGrath04] for collections of traditional—and un-lean—product development ideas.


Lean Thinking: The Big Picture

Does your organization measure “productivity” or “efficiency” in terms of how busy people are, or time spent—watching the runner? Or, in terms of fast delivery of value to the real customer—watching the baton? What is the value-to-waste ratio in your work? And what are the impediments to the flow of value—and how can people feel inspired to continuously strive to improve that flow? Lean thinking addresses this.

Lean (or lean thinking) is the English name—popularized by MIT researchers—to describe the system now known as the Toyota Way inside the company that created it.3 Toyota is a strong, resilient, company that seems to improve over time: – In 2008 surpassed GM to

become the largest vehicle
company by sales, while being
much more profitable.

– Market capitalization in May
2007 was over 1.5 times that
of GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler combined.

– J.D. Power (etc.) consistently
rate Toyota, Lexus, and Scion
among the top in quality.

– Innovative with social and
environmental awareness—for
example, creator of the Prius
and hybrid...

Bibliography: Fujimoto99. Fujimoto, T., 1999. The Evolution of a Manufacturing System at Toyota, Productivity Press
Hino06. Hino, S., 2006. Inside the Mind of Toyota: Management Principles for Enduring Growth, Productivity Press
Ishikawa85. Ishikawa, K., 1985. What Is Total Quality Control? The Japanese Way, Prentice Hall
Kato06. Kato, I., 2006. Summary Notes from Art Smalley Interview with Mr. Isao Kato, at
Liker04. Liker, J., 2004. The Toyota Way, McGraw-Hill
LM06b. Liker, J., Morgan J., 2006. The Toyota Product Development System, Productivity Press
McGrath96. McGrath, M., 1996. Setting the PACE in Product Development, Butterworth-Heinemann
NTI84. Nonaka, I., Takeuchi, H., Imai, H., 1984. “Managing the New Product Development Process: How
Japanese Companies Learn and Unlearn,” Harvard Business School 75th Anniversary Colloquium, also in
Ohno88. Ohno, T., 1988. The Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-scale Production, Productivity Press
Parkinson57. Parkinson, C., 1957. Parkinson’s Law, Buccaneer Books
Poppendieck, M., Poppendieck, T., 2006
Reinertsen09. Reinertsen, D., 2009. The Principles of Product Development Flow, Celeritas Publishing
Smith, P., 2007. Flexible Product Development: Building Agility for Changing Markets, Jossey-Bass
Toyota01. Toyota, 2001. Toyota Way 2001, Toyota Motor Company
Ward06. Ward, A., 2006. Lean Product and Process Development, Lean Enterprise Institute
WJ96. Womack, J., Jones, D. T., 1996. Lean Thinking, Free Press
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