TECH TALK: Good Books: The Toyota Way (Part 3)

Jeffrey Likers book The Toyota Way goes deep into Toyotas philosophy and operations. From the book description:

Fewer man-hours. Less inventory. The highest quality cars with the fewest defects of any competing manufacturer. In factories around the globe, Toyota consistently raises the bar for manufacturing, product development, and process excellence. The result is an amazing business success story: steadily taking market share from price-cutting competitors, earning far more profit than any other automaker, and winning the praise of business leaders worldwide.

The Toyota Way reveals the management principles behind Toyota’s worldwide reputation for quality and reliability. Dr. Jeffrey Liker, a renowned authority on Toyota’s Lean methods, explains how you can adopt these principles–known as the “Toyota Production System” or “Lean Production”–to improve the speed of your business processes, improve product and service quality, and cut costs, no matter what your industry.

Drawing on his extensive research on Toyota, Dr. Liker shares his insights into the foundational principles at work in the Toyota culture. He explains how the Toyota Production System evolved as a new paradigm of manufacturing excellence, transforming businesses across industries. You’ll learn how Toyota fosters employee involvement at all levels, discover the difference between traditional process improvement and Toyota’s Lean improvement, and learn why companies often think they are Lean–but aren’t.

The Toyota Way, explains Toyota’s unique approach to Lean–the 14 management principles and philosophy that drive Toyota’s quality and efficiency-obsessed culture. You’ll gain valuable insights that can be applied to any organization and any business process, whether in services or manufacturing. Professor Jeffrey Liker has been studying Toyota for twenty years, and was given unprecedented access to Toyota executives, employees and factories, both in Japan and the United States, for this landmark work. The book is full of examples of the 14 fundamental principles at work in the Toyota culture, and how these principles create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. You’ll discover how the right combination of long-term philosophy, process, people, and problem solving can transform your organization into a Lean, learning enterprise–the Toyota Way.

The 14 Toyota Way Principles discussed by Liker are:

  • Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy even at the expense of short-term financial goals.
  • Create continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface.
  • Use pull systems to avoid overproduction.
  • Level out the workload. (Work like the tortoise, not the hare.)
  • Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.
  • Standardized tasks are the foundation for continuous improvement.
  • Use visual control so no problems are hidden.
  • Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.
  • Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.
  • Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your companys philosophy.
  • Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.
  • Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation.
  • Make decisions slowly, by consensus, thoroughly considering all options ; implement decisions rapidly.
  • Become a learning organization through relentless reflection and continuous improvement.

    Towards the end of the book, Liker also discusses how other organisations can apply the Toyota Way to become better. (If only it were that simple!) The book is a great read full of ideas which can be applied. The Toyota Way evolved over many decades and is embedded deep within its culture. As we in India seek to build great organisations, we could do well to learn from, in Likers words, the worlds greatest manufacturer.

    TECH TALK Good Books+T

  • Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.