Category Archives: Toyota Production System (TPS)

Enrich Society

Jim Press and Toyota, Setting Sights on No. 1 former president of Toyota Motor North America

The Toyota family, very strongly, still has their name on the building and [have] a big influence in the company. The original founding [principal] of the company was to enrich society.

The Purpose of an Organization as stated by W. Edwards Deming described the purpose of an organization in New Economics, on page 51, as:

The aim proposed here for any organization is for everybody to gain – stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers, community, the environment – over the long term.

This is obviously not the view most people have, but I believe Dr. Deming was right.

Related: Jim Press, Toyota N. American President, Moves to ChryslerNo Excessive Senior Executive Pay at Toyota

Deming Companies

I get asked for examples of Deming managed companies fairly often. And recently I have had a number of such requests. So I figured I would provide an answer as a blog post. First, Dr. Deming would respond to such questions by referring to the theory of knowledge and the fallacy of trying to learn via examples. So remember to read up on why learning from examples is dangerous before taking to much from this.

I see Toyota as the best example of a Deming company. Dr. Deming did not propose a cookbook to follow. Instead he proposed a theory that requires learning and application within the specific institution. Toyota has created a management system that is based on Dr. Deming’s ideas and then they have evolved that over 60 years into something that is consistent with Deming’s management philosophy and has new ideas Deming did not mention. As odd as it may sound that very act of developing new concepts that were not mentioned by Dr. Deming is exactly what makes them the company that most exemplifies Deming’s management system.

Other companies that have also done a great job applying his ideas. Peaker Services has done great things. Ian Bradbury is the President and a friend. He spoke at a seminar I co-presented and I included links to a couple documents of his in a blog post. He worked at GM Power System when Dr. Deming was working with GM. Richard R. Steele founder and also serves on the Deming Institute board of trustees.

Hillerich & Bradsby Company has been following Dr. Deming’s ideas since 1984. John A. Hillerich is President and Chairman of the Board of Hillerich & Bradsby Company and serves on the Deming Institute board of trustees. The companies brands include: Louisville Slugger and Powerbuilt.

A couple of good books explore companies adopting Dr. Deming’s ideas: Free, Perfect and Now by Robert Rodin (a great book by the CEO of Marshall Industries), highly recommended). Unfortunately the company was bought by a larger company and I do not believe the Deming philosophy is alive and well (but I could be wrong). Always Think Big by Jim McIngvale is by the CEO. Mattress Mack: One man, one store, one of a kind.

Omnilingua has had amazing success applying Dr. Deming’s idea and I am proud to call Eric Christiansen their president a friend. Lean Blog Podcast with Eric Christiansen “A Deming Company”. In a previous post I recapped another example: Dr. Deming’s Ideas at Markey’s Audio Visual.

Companies awarded the Deming prize can also provide good examples. Four subsidiaries of the Rane Group in India has received awards in the last few years. Numerous people have done great things within companies – creating pockets of Deming practice. Some great examples include Steven Prevette – see some of his articles on Deming. David Anderson has incorporated Deming ideas within Microsoft and then Corbis – see his Agile Management Blog. William Bellows has a long term effort at Boeing’s Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power business unit. They offer conference call study sessions on Deming’s ideas for those within Boeing and also allow outside participation. He is also a member of the Deming Institute board of trustees.

This is just off the top of my head so I am sure I have left off many good examples. Also, for me the company needs to have an understanding what they are doing evolved from Dr. Deming’s ideas to list them (many companies have practices which are Deming based but they do not have an appreciation for Deming’s system of management – I think that appreciation is needed to be a “Deming company”). Many companies that truly and deeply practice lean manufacturing are applying many of Deming’s ideas. However to me if they do not understand the roots of the ideas from Dr. Deming I don’t consider that a “Deming company.” But that label is not all that meaningful anyway – so this just explains my thinking.

Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

Related: The Purpose of an OrganizationDeming management blog posts

Toyota’s Partner Robot

Toyota partner robot photo

Latest robot in Toyota’s line showcases violin skills

But Toyota’s new robot played a pretty solid “Pomp and Circumstance” on the violin Thursday. The 152-centimetre [about 5 feet] tall white robot used its mechanical fingers to push the strings correctly and bowed with its other arm, coordinating the movements well. Toyota Motor Corp. has already shown robots that roll around to work as guides and have fingers dexterous enough to play the trumpet.

Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said robotics will be a core business for the company in coming years. He says Toyota will test out its robots at hospitals, Toyota-related facilities and other places starting next year. He hopes to see partner robots in use by 2010.

“We want to create robots that are useful for people in everyday life,” he told reporters at a Toyota showroom in Tokyo. Watanabe and other Toyota officials said robotics was a natural extension of the automaker’s use of robots in manufacturing, as well as the development of technology for autos related to artificial intelligence, such as sensors and pre-crash safety systems.

As I have mentioned before Toyota continues to invest and plan for the long term. And that future is not limited to automobile manufacture. We posted previously on Toyota’s partner robots. The Curious Cat Engineering Blog Robotics category has a great deal of posts on robots.

On the Toyota web site they list the following areas of non-automotive Toyota business (I don’t understand why robots are not included here): financial services, new business enterprises, marine and most surprisingly Biotechnology and Afforestation.

Related: Toyota as HomebuilderToyota Engineers a New Plant: the Living KindToyota’s iUnit webcast (personal transport)Toyota’s Early HistoryInterview with Toyota PresidentMore on Non-Auto Toyota12 Stocks for 10 Years Update
Continue reading

Lean, Toyota and Deming for Software Development

Mary Poppendieck on The Role of Leadership in Software Development, very nice 90 minute webcast:

In this 90-minute talk from the Agile2007 conference, Lean software thought leader Mary Poppendieck reviewed 20th century management theories, including Toyota and Deming, and went on to talk about “the matrix problem”, alignment, waste cutting, planning and standards. She closed by addressing the role of measurement: “cash flow thinking” over “balance sheet thinking”.

via, Leadership is not Obsolete for Self-Organizing Teams!

Once again Mary provides a great resource. This is a great overview. Lean Software Development by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck is an excellent book on these topics.

Related: articles and webcasts by Mary Poppendieckposts on software developmentmore management webcasts

Toyota’s Effort to Stay Toyota

Toyota’s All-Out Drive To Stay Toyota

“We are making every effort not to lose our DNA,” says Shigeru Hayakawa, president of Toyota Motor North America.

Just in case St. Angelo forgets any of his Toyota training, he has someone watching his back. His retired predecessor, Gary Convis, still gets paid to advise him. That’s an idea Toyota imported from Japan, where the company asks retiring engineers to stick around to mentor young employees. The ranks of these old-timers are growing rapidly as the company tries to safeguard its culture. Last year, Toyota rehired 650 of the 1,200 skilled workers eligible for retirement in Japan, and will soon have 3,000 of these folks on its payroll.

Related: lean manufacturing portalToyota management postsToyota IT OverviewNew Toyota CEO’s Views

“2007 has been a difficult year for Toyota”

I find the quote “2007 has been a difficult year for Toyota” found in The Dings and Dents of Toyota a bit amusing. Toyota has had some problems as the article notes like product recalls and losing a handful of employees to Ford and Chrysler. They are about even with GM in worldwide sales and posted a profit of nearly $14 Billion (I believe maybe 20 companies have ever earned that much in any year) in the year ending March 2007 and continue to make huge profits this year (Toyota reported their best quarter ever in August). With difficulty like this who needs success 🙂

“Toyota’s short-term problems are exaggerated,” said James P. Womack, a manufacturing expert and co-author of The Machine That Changed the World… But Mr. Womack said he was concerned that Toyota might be losing its laserlike focus, just as it marked two important anniversaries this year: its 70th birthday as an automobile company, and its 50th year selling cars in the United States. “Toyota has to rethink its purpose in life,”

He is right that the problems are exaggerated. I agree that Toyota has to maintain a laser-like focus on improvement. I don’t agree that they need to rethink their purpose in life (I have a feeling that is taken out of context). They need to maintain and maybe even increase their commitment to their purpose in life.

In our post New Toyota CEO’s Views in 2005, we quote the new CEO, Katsuaki Watanabe:

We should never be satisfied with the current status. In each division, function, or region, we still have numerous problems to cope with. We need to identify each one of those tasks or problems and fully recognize them and pursue the causes. This needs to be done by all the people working for Toyota.

He was right then and that is true now.

Related: Reacting to Product ProblemsJim Press, Toyota N. American President, Moves to ChryslerToyota HomesRespect for People at Toyota

Strategic Deployment: How To Think Like Toyota

Strategic Deployment: How To Think Like Toyota [the broken link was removed]:

Hoshin kanri is fundamental to Toyota’s success today, says Dennis, currently an instructor at the Lean Enterprise Institute. He says Toyota’s ability to grasp the situation, identify two or three obstacles, develop meaningful plans to address those obstacles, and deploy them “is outstanding.”

Another company using strategy deployment, HNI Corp., has used a policy deployment mechanism for more than a decade. The office furniture manufacturer, an IndustryWeek Best Manufacturing Company for five consecutive years, deploys its strategy companywide using a Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) sequence that moves from a three-year corporate plan to a unit-level development process that creates one-year plans with action steps. Progress reviews and annual reviews evaluate progress and then the cycle starts again, explains Todd Murphy, vice president and general manager of The HON Co.’s Cedartown, Ga., facility, a 2005 IW Best Plants winner. HON is the largest operating company within HNI Corp.

Also central to policy deployment at HON is rapid continuous improvement, or RCI, a company culture focused on making breakthrough improvements. Further aligning policy deployment at HON is its reward system, which is linked to the achievement of policy deployment goals.

How Curiosity Empowers Toyota

How Curiosity Empowers Toyota [the broken link was removed] by Keith McFarland:

As I read Magee’s book one idea kept surfacing in my mind. Throughout its history, Toyota appears to have put an emphasis on an important but oft-overlooked characteristic: Curiosity. You can trace Toyota’s institutionalized curiosity back to its founder, Sakichi Toyoda (1867-1930), who became interested in improving the effectiveness of weaving looms, and who went on to revolutionize weaving technology in Japan and secure more than 100 patents on his ideas. You might say Toyota’s founder was “loopy” for looms. Not content just to build the best looms in Japan, Toyoda traveled to Europe, toured leading Western loom makers, and carried key ideas back to Japan. Son Kiichiro Toyoda carried on his father’s tradition of curiosity—and a visit to a Detroit auto plant in the 1920s inspired him to move a renamed Toyota into the car business.

For more than 70 years, Toyota’s curiosity has allowed it to build, brick by brick, a commercial fortress. It has scanned the globe for the best ideas—from styling to manufacturing to quality management—and imbued those ideas with a power that often surprises even the people who came up with them in the first place.

Curiosity seems like just what a cat (or company) needs to grow and learn and improve 🙂

Related: Curious Cat management articlesposts on the Toyota Management Systemlean manufacturing portal

Jim Press, Toyota N. American President, Moves to Chrysler

Jim Press leaves Toyota to join Chrysler. I am surprised. I would imagine he is getting a huge amount of money. And I would guess it will encourage those that think you have to massively overpay executives or lose them to companies that will overpay them. I don’t think it is wise to pay huge sums to executives. If that means you lose some, fine, continue to manage your system well and things will still work out fine for you. And maybe pay has nothing to do with the move.

“Wow, this is a huge surprise,” said Dave Cole, chairman for the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Center for Automotive Research. “This is a real coup for the new Chrysler. I believe it will give the Chrysler turnaround significantly more credibility. Again, wow!”

Press will team with current Vice Chairman and President Tom LaSorda as Chrysler’s executive team makes a push to wring out landmark health-care and pension concessions from the United Auto Workers.

I agree getting Press could help Chrysler a great deal. If they will actually let him change the system. If they just want to hire a couple of executives and basically keep the same mentality in place it won’t work. For those convinced it must be Chrysler sees the errors of its past management I would caution you. Typical management practice is to hire people from companies that have been winning. So hiring Toyota people is no real indication that Chrysler is thinking any differently than they have before – it might or it might not.

Related: No Excessive Senior Executive Pay at ToyotaToyota management postslean manufacturing articles

Constant Change and Growth

The Toyota Secret: Constant Change And Growth by Norman Bodek

the chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation. He said, “Failure to change is a vice! I want everyone at Toyota to change and at least do not be an obstacle for someone else who wants to change.”

Every day the manager should look around the company, take videos and still pictures, and challenge people to grow, to eliminate non-value adding wastes, to use their brains to identify and solve problems, and to improve their skills and capabilities. Why else do we need managers? A manager’s job is to stimulate people to change for the better, every day.

Great article. Kaikaku by Bodek. via New Norman Bodek Article

Related: Lean Podcast with BodekChange is not ImprovementWhat Is Muda?lean management resourcesCurious Cat management articles