Toyota Special Report: Thinking Production System

Toyota Special Report: Thinking Production System [the broken link was removed]. A very interesting article on Toyota’s web site (

At the 2003 Automotive Parts System Solution Fair, held in Tokyo, June 18, 2003, Teruyuki Minoura, then-managing director of global purchasing, Toyota Motor Corporation, talked about his experiences with TPS (the Toyota Production System), and what it means for suppliers and for the future of the auto industry.

This short article is peppered with many great quotes as section headers:

  • In TPS, the T also stands for “Thinking”
  • To cut lead-time, cut out all the bits that don’t add value.
  • The line must stop if there is a problem.
  • Ask yourself “Why?” five times.
  • Develop people who can come up with unique ideas.

Minoura warns “simply introducing kanban cards or andon boards doesn’t mean you’ve implemented the Toyota Production System, for they remain nothing more than mere tools. The new information technologies are no exception, and they should also be applied and implemented as tools.”

Early in his career, Minoura worked under Taiichi Ohno, recognized as the creator of the Toyota Production System. Ohno, through tireless trial and error, managed to put into practice a “pull” system that stopped the factory producing unnecessary items. But Minoura observes that it was only by developing this “loose collection of techniques” into a fully-fledged system, dubbed the Toyota Production System or TPS, that they were able to deploy this throughout the company

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