Deming and Toyota

In response to Deming Electronic Network message, Deming and Toyota (broken link removed):

I have read a few of the threads referring to Toyota and their success. I am somewhat familiar with the Toyota Production System (where Lean principles sprouted from), but I have often wondered if Toyota subscribed to all of Deming’s 14 points.

I believe Toyota applied Deming’s ideas to create a management system and continued to develop that system to create the Toyota Production System (also known as lean manufacturing). I believe a convincing argument can be made for Toyota following all 14 points.

An interesting article on Toyota’s web site illustrates their commitment to several of the points, Toyota Special Report: Thinking Production System.

Another interesting document, on Toyota’s web site is an environmental and social report – that while it does not mention Deming’s 14 points does illustrate their belief in several of them (for example: “We must provide to customers cleaner, safer, and more attractive products with excellent value. To shareholders, we must enhance share value through long-term and stable growth by increasing profits and paying appropriate dividends. With business partners, we must engage in fair business based on a spirit of mutual benefit.”).

I do not believe Toyota has “abolished the annual rating or merit system” – I may be wrong (I just figure I would have heard of it if they had).

One point that I believe people confuse is, “eliminate numerical goals, numerical quotas and management by objectives.” Toyota does mention numerical goals. However, the way they talk about numerical goals I do not feel conflict with Deming’s point. For example, see: Innovation at Toyota.

I believe they subscribe to: “Drive out fear and build trust.” But that doesn’t prevent conflict at times that certainly must bring up fear in some. But taking this seriously and attempting to work on doing this I think is part of Toyota’s management system.

John Hunter

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