Toyota Production System

Good Thinking, Good Products

FEATURE – Following a recent visit to Toyota, the authors strive to challenge popular beliefs and shed a light on the underlying philosophy that has made TPS a success for over half a century.

The depth of lean thinking

FEATURE – To really embrace lean thinking means to ensure the bureaucratic structures in our organizations enable our people to excel, rather than constrain their creativity.

Lean Thinking: ingredients, incubation and diffusion

FEATURE – The author offers an overview of the ingredients that made lean thinking what it is, of the 30 years of incubation it underwent at Toyota, and of its diffusion from 1980 onwards.
building trust lean company

Michael Ballé on how to really build trust in a lean company

FEATURE – In this interesting piece, the author explains why living up to the ideal of mutual trust is hard, and how lean tools can help us build a workplace based on respect.
An interview with lean pioneer Freddy Ballé

An interview with lean thinking pioneer Freddy Ballé

INTERVIEW – Having started to explore TPS in the mid-1970s, Freddy Ballé is one of the great pioneers of our movement. Here, he shares what he learned about Toyota over the past 40 years.
Doug Rickarby profile lean leadership

What this leader has learned in 40 years at Toyota Australia

PROFILE – What does one learn from working for Toyota over 40 years? This Australian leader has developed a unique holistic view, and a strong set of technical and social skills.
Isao Yoshino interview lean management Toyota

Isao Yoshino reflects on the role of management at Toyota

INTERVIEW – In this Q&A with Catherine Chabiron, Toyota veteran Isao Yoshino discusses NUMMI, management at the company, and how to change the mindsets of leaders.
Mifune supply chain management Toyota

Walking the gemba at a Toyota parts supplier in Japan

NOTES FROM THE GEMBA – This month, the author shares her account of a recent gemba walk at a Tier 2 Toyota supplier, which has achieved impressive results by applying TPS.
Michael Ballé on kaizen

Why real kaizen and innovation start with leadership

FEATURE – Following a visit to a Toyota supplier in Japan, the authors reflect on the nature of kaizen and explain why we might be looking for it in the wrong place.
lean global network japan

Five key takeaways from our lean week visiting Toyota

ROUND-UP – The Lean Global Network’s week in Japan in September was full of learning and inspiration. We asked five LGNers to share their biggest takeaways.
John Shook in Toyota City with the LGN

John Shook discusses Toyota and Japan at Nagoya station

INTERVIEW – For its 10th anniversary, the Lean Global Network went to Japan for a study mission. Our editor spoke with John Shook on a Shinkansen platform after four days in Toyota City and Nagoya.
Tracey Richardson lessons Toyota

Tracey Richardson on the deep meaning of standards at Toyota

FEATURE – Through this intimate anecdote from her days at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky, the author tells us of her experience with standardization… and of the deep leadership lessons hiding behind it.
Toyota Australia lean thinking

Jim Womack on the lean shut-down of Toyota Australia

WOMACK'S YOKOTEN – On October 3, Toyota will cease its manufacturing operations in Australia, but the way it is managing the transition - in the leanest way possible - holds great lessons for us all.
product costing ian glenday

What levelled production has to do with product costing

FEATURE – What does levelled production have to do with product costing? This article explains how getting your accountants to understand this link can help your company become less complex, more efficient and profitable.
levelled production low sale products

To be leaner discontinue high-volume low-sale products

FEATURE – We often think that making every product customers might want – no matter how little they sell or how much complexity they add to our schedule – is inherently lean. As Toyota understands quite well, however, it is quite the opposite.
buffer limits ian glenday

Understanding buffer limits in levelled production

FEATURE – Setting the right buffer limits and re-order point, triggering production of an item, is critical for an organization to manage inventory. In his latest article, Ian Glenday explains why, once again, picking flow over batch logic is a no-brainer.
ballé lean experts

Ballé: before others, lean experts should heal themselves

FEATURE – The role of experts in lean thinking is often the subject of heated discussions. Here, Michael Ballé tells us about the common mistakes lean experts make, and explains why – before helping others – they should help themselves.
Starting levelled production

Ian Glenday’s guide to starting levelled production

FEATURE – In the latest article of his series for Planet Lean, Ian Glenday explains the practical steps an organization can take to properly introduce levelled production in its operations.