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What is "true competitiveness" learned from TPS.

Updated: May 29, 2022

In this morning's blog, I would like to share a valuable story from my memo about when Honorary Chairman Zhang Toyota and Advisor / Technical Supervisor Ikebuchi talked to the Toyota Group's critical positions in 2013.

(In some places, my commentary is included)

I was planning to post it on the forum, but I would like many people to read it, and I will send it as material to think about during the spring holidays.

Former Vice President Taiichi Ohno is said to be the creator of TPS. Still, Honorary Chairman Zhang and Advisor Ikebuchi / Technical Supervisor are the second generation people who have brought it up.

Together with former Chairman Uchikawa (currently TEPCO's specially appointed advisor), who taught me TPS and management, these are the people who have fostered the current competitiveness of Toyota.

The dialogue at this time was aimed at the next generation of leaders. The basic story of TPS is introduced in various books, but I was fortunate to be able to feel the energy transmitted from them here. I felt a sense of realism that I couldn't speak in the language.


Mr Ohno said, "TPS is not complete. There are new challenges no matter where you go."

TPS is the continuous kaizen of Toyota Way, changing little by little.

Toyota is on the verge of bankruptcy as trucks no longer sell due to the postwar monetary tightening policy (Dodge Line).

We reduced the number of employees and caused a labour dispute until President Kiichiro retired.

With this kind of experience, I firmly realized that over-building waste is the greatest sin. The TPS says that there are seven wastes, but the conclusion is that the most significant waste among the wastes is overproduced waste.

Around this time, other domestic automobile manufacturers formed technical tie-ups with foreign manufacturers, such as Ford, but Toyota had no money and had to abandon the technical tie-up. You can also say that you missed a chance.

In the "Toyota book", it is said to be Toyota's self-reliance, but it seems that the lack of money was one of the reasons why Toyota did not partner with foreign companies.

There was no money, but there were people. Toyota hires people who are 2 to 30 times taller than they are. You can think of this as laying the foundation for today.

We have developed our technology, rebuilt our relationship with the labour union, and restored our financial base.

Around this time, I fostered a healthy corporate structure through activities that had a foothold in the ground and my way.

I have posted stories on my forum in product development, including Chief Nakamura, the first Corolla Hasegawa, Lexus Suzuki, and Prius creator Takeshi Uchiyamada.

(Member registration is required to use the forum)

At that time, Ford was a push system, and there was a line dedicated to repairs, which was full of cars waiting for repairs.

Toyota put the customer first and considered the pull method based on the idea that "if one is sold, we make one more." It has grown into a way to run the company with a small amount of money, as it has as little inventory as possible.

Since around 1960, Toyota has adopted just-in-time for assembly.

Today, this is the norm for Toyota factories, but the production line progresses autonomously due to takt time, and each process is completely synchronized.

It is a production method in which waste can be seen further, and Kaizen progresses by making it flow.

In addition, we carried out activities such as comprehensive prevention of recurrence.

It is represented by "Toyota's problem solving". Generally, it is known as "why-why analysis" or "5 why".

When a problem is found, the method is to go back to the root, find the cause, Kaizen the work method, and fold it into the work standard.

Mr Ohno is said to be the creator of TPS. Honorary Chairman Zhang, the student, will be the second generation. The role assigned to the second generation was to spread TPS to outsourced manufacturers.

For example, when Ikebuchi, an advisor / technical supervisor, had just joined the company, Mr Ohno told me to go to Toyohashi Railroad.

He said, "I'll fix the process to work well over there. It's not good for Toyota. Don't come back until I can." The three-month schedule took three years.

At that time, the site was viral, and the gimmick (office worker) put out a production plan for a month, but without seeing it, the site was doing it without permission.

A technician's office has been established, and a Kanban system has been established. The gimmick made the production plan, but when the line is run autonomously in Kanban, the responsibility when the line stops is entirely on the site. It strengthened my workplace.

  • It is essential to pursue how manufacturing can respond fluidly to the sales situation.

  • The market is fluid, but manufacturing is fixed.

  • We aim to create a system that makes manufacturing as fluid as possible.

  • Processes that respond to change are organized based on standard work and takt time.

  • It is essential to respond to fluctuations by changing the manufacturing method as much as possible.

  • The basic idea is to reduce the portion of inventory that corresponds to fluctuations.

  • (Short one piece, small lot, setup change)

  • The prediction is not correct

  • Shorten production L / T as much as possible to avoid difficult predictions

  • For example, the L / T of an iron plate was three months in the past. So if I didn't place an order three months ago, the iron plate wouldn't be in time. I asked a steelmaker to shorten the L / T.

  • If you procure from overseas, it will cost more L / T

  • (Pre-process) It is important to have sales that connect directly with customers before production.

  • (Post-process) It is essential to know what the state of related manufacturers is.

Japan was only about 1/10 productive compared to Europe and the United States in those days. So, the top management of Toyota told them to catch up in three years from the top.

At that time, Ford was a push system, and there was a line dedicated to repairs, which was full of cars waiting for repairs.

With the push method, things will come in more and more, and the inventory will increase, which is a problem. With the reverse idea of ​​stopping to ensure quality, we have established the concept of flow production.

The Ford method requires a considerable rework line. However, we are always ready for personnel in a defect.

At that time, Toyota had only 1/100 of Ford's production. As a result, it took more than 20 years to complete Toyota's original method (Ford + JIT + autonomation).

Compared to the 1980s, competing manufacturers are also more robust. For example, it is said that there are more Korean companies than Toyota.

The TPS method alone is not enough, and it works only when both TPS and Toyota Way (Code of Conduct) are combined. Speaking of the company as a whole, the combined strength of product development will help.

It is necessary to spiral up it and respond flexibly while assessing the situation. It is required to respond flexibly to market demand while maintaining the essential axis that has been established so far.

Kaizen is the norm for Japanese people. What surprised me when I entered the United States was that there was no concept of Kaizen in the United States.

Improvement didn't work.

Ford had only the habit of making significant changes once every four years.

Unless I said "Daily Continual Improvement", Americans couldn't understand the word Kaizen.

During the oil crisis in the mid-1970s, sales were mainly domestic. TPS was just getting started, but I could see the problem right away because it was out of stock, so I was able to take immediate action.

In the Lehman shock that occurred at the end of the 2000s, Toyota's logistics had grown considerably. As a result, l / T was growing. I couldn't make up for that handicap. The response was feeble.

The individual strengths were the same, but the connections were inadequate. Now we can respond quickly.

I have never explicitly promised not to lay off people, but layoffs are a last resort.

It is essential to think about countermeasures against the crisis and manage them. This idea is universal and has been well received by American trade unions.

TPS fell into a rut for a while.

However, we are welcoming now by not forgetting the origin.

The origin is one sink. Currently, I go back to materials such as press and forging, and I am doing one sink.

Finally, I would like to introduce the thoughts of the Super Honorary Chairman in response to the question, "How about the office technology department?"

"The problem does not come up in the office technology department. It would be nice if we could raise the problem sooner, but that is where TPS has not been made. Overall, the degree of completion of TPS is about 7th. Still 30%. There is room for extension. The office technology department is not doing well. Mr Ohno once said, "(The office technology department) will do it."

What did you think?

Many more detailed articles are posted on the forums on my HP.

We believe that the Great Reset, which is about to begin, will have a significant impact on us and the oil crisis and the Lehman class. So far, new bills will be issued in April 2024.

As I'm not an inserter, I don't know precisely how Toyota is dealing with the semiconductor problem that is starting now. Still, as I wrote in my blog two days ago, "Inventory is not necessarily" evil ". ", You should be taking action to respond flexibly without forgetting the basics.

Whether to grow up on a crisis journey or endure it

It will significantly change the future of the company.

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