Taiichi Ohno Interview Video Footage

This week I found a five-minute YouTube video excerpt featuring Taiichi Ohno. It is a television program about the revolutionary productivity Ohno achieved at Toyota. It is from the late 1980s. Taiichi Ohno is interviewed in what looks like his living room, interspersed with black-and-white footage from Toyota in the 1950s.

Here are a few of the things you can learn from the video:

  • Waste happens when people mistakenly think they are working
  • When people are good at finding waste, give them an aggressive target
  • After they have hit that target, give them another one
  • “We’ve always done things this way,” and “But he’s a hard worker” are signs people are’t seeing the waste
  • It is difficult to get people to change if you don’t meet them where they’re at
  • To make work flow, a foreman’s job changes to running the line smoothly and not in doing the work itself
  • Ohno optimized human labor in the machining departments, but revolutionized how parts were fed to the assembly line through the just-in-time method
  • Lack of cash was the constraint that forced the conception of minimum-stock production (a.k.a. TPS, Lean)
  • Kanban was a card that acted as currency and communicated what was consumed
  • Changeover time reduction allowed Toyota to deliver a mix of low volume items

Hear Taiichi Ohno’s voice and see him smile in this valuable video.


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