Toyota Kata : the “how” of “engaged leadership”

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Lean manufacturing

Previous to the use, Ford's car's components were fitted and reshaped by a skilled engineer at the point of use, so that they would connect properly. Toyota's development of ideas that later became lean may have started at the turn of the 20th century with Sakichi Toyoda , in a textile factory with looms that stopped themselves when a thread broke. This became the seed of autonomation and Jidoka.

Toyota's journey with just-in-time JIT may have started back in when it moved from textiles to produce its first car. Kiichiro Toyoda , founder of Toyota Motor Corporation, directed the engine casting work and discovered many problems in their manufacturing.

He decided he must stop the repairing of poor quality by intense study of each stage of the process. In , when Toyota won its first truck contract with the Japanese government, his processes hit new problems and he developed the " Kaizen " improvement teams.

Levels of demand in the Post War economy of Japan were low and the focus of mass production on lowest cost per item via economies of scale therefore had little application. Having visited and seen supermarkets in the USA, Taiichi Ohno recognised the scheduling of work should not be driven by sales or production targets but by actual sales. Given the financial situation during this period, over-production had to be avoided and thus the notion of Pull build to order rather than target driven Push came to underpin production scheduling.

It was with Taiichi Ohno at Toyota that these themes came together. He built on the already existing internal schools of thought and spread their breadth and use into what has now become the Toyota Production System TPS.

It is principally from the TPS which was widely referred to in the s as just-in-time manufacturing , but now including many other sources, that lean production is developing. Norman Bodek wrote the following in his foreword to a reprint of Ford's Today and Tomorrow: I was first introduced to the concepts of just-in-time JIT and the Toyota production system in Subsequently I had the opportunity to witness its actual application at Toyota on one of our numerous Japanese study missions.

There I met Mr. Taiichi Ohno, the system's creator. When bombarded with questions from our group on what inspired his thinking, he just laughed and said he learned it all from Henry Ford's book. Although the elimination of waste may seem like a simple and clear subject, it is noticeable that waste is often very conservatively identified. This then hugely reduces the potential of such an aim. The elimination of waste is the goal of lean, and Toyota defined three broad types of waste: To illustrate the state of this thinking Shigeo Shingo observed that only the last turn of a bolt tightens it—the rest is just movement.

This ever finer clarification of waste is key to establishing distinctions between value-adding activity, waste and non-value-adding work.

One key is to measure, or estimate, the size of these wastes, to demonstrate the effect of the changes achieved and therefore the movement toward the goal. The "flow" or smoothness based approach aims to achieve JIT, by removing the variation caused by work scheduling and thereby provide a driver, rationale or target and priorities for implementation, using a variety of techniques.

The effort to achieve JIT exposes many quality problems that are hidden by buffer stocks; by forcing smooth flow of only value-adding steps, these problems become visible and must be dealt with explicitly. Muri is all the unreasonable work that management imposes on workers and machines because of poor organization, such as carrying heavy weights, moving things around, dangerous tasks, even working significantly faster than usual.

It is pushing a person or a machine beyond its natural limits. This may simply be asking a greater level of performance from a process than it can handle without taking shortcuts and informally modifying decision criteria. Unreasonable work is almost always a cause of multiple variations. To link these three concepts is simple in TPS and thus lean. Firstly, muri focuses on the preparation and planning of the process, or what work can be avoided proactively by design.

Next, mura then focuses on how the work design is implemented and the elimination of fluctuation at the scheduling or operations level, such as quality and volume. Muda is then discovered after the process is in place and is dealt with reactively. It is seen through variation in output. It is the role of management to examine the muda , in the processes and eliminate the deeper causes by considering the connections to the muri and mura of the system.

The muda and mura inconsistencies must be fed back to the muri , or planning, stage for the next project. A typical example of the interplay of these wastes is the corporate behaviour of "making the numbers" as the end of a reporting period approaches.

Demand is raised to 'make plan,' increasing mura , when the "numbers" are low, which causes production to try to squeeze extra capacity from the process, which causes routines and standards to be modified or stretched. This stretch and improvisation leads to muri -style waste, which leads to downtime, mistakes and back flows, and waiting, thus the muda of waiting, correction and movement.

The original seven mudas are: Eventually, an eighth "muda" was defined by Womack et al. Many others have added the "waste of unused human talent" to the original seven wastes. For example, Six Sigma includes the waste of Skills, referred to as "under-utilizing capabilities and delegating tasks with inadequate training". Other additional wastes added were for example "space".

These wastes were not originally a part of the seven deadly wastes defined by Taiichi Ohno in TPS, but were found to be useful additions in practice. In Geoffrey Mika in his book, "Kaizen Event Implementation Manual" added three more forms of waste that are now universally accepted; The waste associated with working to the wrong metrics or no metrics, the waste associated with not utilizing a complete worker by not allowing them to contribute ideas and suggestions and be part of Participative Management, and lastly the waste attributable to improper use of computers; not having the proper software, training on use and time spent surfing, playing games or just wasting time.

For a complete listing of the "old" and "new" wastes see Bicheno and Holweg [17]. The identification of non-value-adding work, as distinct from wasted work, is critical to identifying the assumptions behind the current work process and to challenging them in due course.

The role of the leaders within the organization is the fundamental element of sustaining the progress of lean thinking. Experienced kaizen members at Toyota, for example, often bring up the concepts of Senpai , Kohai , and Sensei , because they strongly feel that transferring of Toyota culture down and across Toyota can only happen when more experienced Toyota Sensei continuously coach and guide the less experienced lean champions.

One of the dislocative effects of lean is in the area of key performance indicators KPI. This can be an issue where, for example a truly lean, Fixed Repeating Schedule FRS and JIT approach is adopted, because these KPIs will no longer reflect performance, as the assumptions on which they are based become invalid. It is a key leadership challenge to manage the impact of this KPI chaos within the organization.

Similarly, commonly used accounting systems developed to support mass production are no longer appropriate for companies pursuing lean. Lean accounting provides truly lean approaches to business management and financial reporting. After formulating the guiding principles of its lean manufacturing approach in the Toyota Production System TPS , Toyota formalized in the basis of its lean management: These core management principles are articulated around the twin pillars of Continuous Improvement relentless elimination of waste and Respect for People engagement in long term relationships based on continuous improvement and mutual trust.

This formalization stems from problem solving. As Toyota expanded beyond its home base for the past 20 years, it hit the same problems in getting TPS properly applied that other western companies have had in copying TPS. Like any other problem, it has been working on trying a series of countermeasures to solve this particular concern.

These countermeasures have focused on culture: Without the proper behavioral principles and values, TPS can be totally misapplied and fail to deliver results. As with TPS, the values had originally been passed down in a master-disciple manner, from boss to subordinate, without any written statement on the way. Just as with TPS, it was internally argued that formalizing the values would stifle them and lead to further misunderstanding.

However, as Toyota veterans eventually wrote down the basic principles of TPS, Toyota set to put the Toyota Way into writing to educate new joiners. Respect For People is less known outside of Toyota, and essentially involves two defining principles:.

While lean is seen by many as a generalization of the Toyota Production System into other industries and contexts, there are some acknowledged differences that seem to have developed in implementation: Lean principles have been successfully applied to various sectors and services, such as call centers and healthcare.

In the former, lean's waste reduction practices have been used to reduce handle time, within and between agent variation, accent barriers, as well as attain near perfect process adherence. Lean principles also have applications to software development and maintenance as well as other sectors of information technology IT. The challenge in moving lean to services is the lack of widely available reference implementations to allow people to see how directly applying lean manufacturing tools and practices can work and the impact it does have.

This makes it more difficult to build the level of belief seen as necessary for strong implementation. However, some research does relate widely recognized examples of success in retail and even airlines to the underlying principles of lean.

The upshot of this is that each implementation often 'feels its way' along as must the early industrial engineering practices of Toyota. This places huge importance upon sponsorship to encourage and protect these experimental developments. Lean management is nowadays implemented also in non-manufacturing processes and administrative processes.

In non-manufacturing processes is still huge potential for optimization and efficiency increase. The espoused goals of lean manufacturing systems differ between various authors. While some maintain an internal focus, e. Some commonly mentioned goals are: The strategic elements of lean can be quite complex, and comprise multiple elements. Four different notions of lean have been identified: Lean production has been adopted into other industries to promote productivity and efficiency in an ever changing market.

In global supply chain and outsource scale, Information Technology is necessary and can deal with most of hard lean practices to synchronise pull system in supply chains and value system.

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