Lean Manufacturing

TPS from the Horse’s Mouth: View the Videos & Take the Quiz!

By Jon Miller Published on March 30th, 2006

Toyota has revamped their website area explaining TPS. The thinking and origin of TPS including kanban, just in time and jidoka are explained in simple terms using diagrams to make it easy to understand. It’s a pity they don’t spend more time on their creative idea suggestion system and standard work but it’s a good start.
On the Just-in-Time page, the kanban diagram should help clarify the misconceptions commonly held about what kanban are and what they do. The flow of the parts retrieval (withdrawal) kanban and the production instruction (production) kanban are made very clear.
There is also what you might call a high-level material and information flow diagram explaining the production flow. Make sure you scroll all the way down so you can view the explanatory text that appears as part of the Flash animation.
The videos of TPS in action (about 4 minutes) follows a part from truck to assembly line and then tracks a kanban card through electronic processing, the heijunka post, the attachment and picking of parts. There are also some brief close ups of u-shaped chaku-chaku lines. Awesome!
On the same area the Jidoka video (about 4 minutes) explores “intelligent automation’ and its origins with the invention of the automatic loom. It ends rather abruptly. The Just-in-Time video (about 7 minutes) is more about the history of Toyota than the details of takt time, one piece flow and downstream pull. These two videos are not instructional but rather the PR videos they display at their exhibition center.
Make sure to check out the Jidoka and Just-in-Time tabs on the video page. You can select specific short clips from the longer version of the videos, introducing individual examples of kanban, jidoka, etc. Let’s see that heijunka box again!
There’s a short quiz about TPS that you can take, I missed a question. Doh!
Toyota gives a nod to both the popularization of the “Toyota Way” term as well as the evolving and adapting nature of the Toyota Production System:
Nowadays, the “Toyota spirit of making things” is referred to as the “Toyota Way.” It has been adopted, not only by companies inside Japan and within the automotive industry, but in production activities worldwide, and continues to evolve globally.
There you have it, the Toyota Production System straight from the horse’s mouth.

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