For Employees: Stimulating or Stressful?

Employees undertake tremendous responsibilities in the Toyota Production system. At each worksite, a team of employees design the standardized work procedures for their own jobs and strives continuously to find ways to improve those procedures. The team members use KANBAN to manage the flow of work and to order parts and materials. What is more, they each work to master every job at their worksite so that any member of the team can help or even fill in for any other member of the team.

For People accustomed to the regimented work of conventional production formats. The Toyota production system and the broad – ranging responsibilities that it assigns to employees can come as a shock. In place of the rigid job designations of conventional systems, the Toyota Production System is predicated on employee flexibility in acquiring multiple skills. And where conventional systems pad the schedule for many tasks with so-called reserve time, Toyota’s system is oriented toward eliminating every minute and every second that is not absolutely necessary to generate value.

But responsibility and authority are motivational, while nothing is more demoralizing over the long term than spending time in an unproductive manner. Experience has proven that the more authority employees have to manage their own work, the more inclined they are to pursue improvements in that work. Employees who can translate their own ideas into visible improvements in production flow and in product quality take pride in their work, in their jobs, and in their companies.

To be sure, the Toyota Production System enforces a creative tension in the workplace. Employees don’t coast. Just-in-time production demands continuous vigilance. Continuing improvements in the name of KAIZEN™ demand unflagging efforts to find better ways of doing things. The overall result, however, is a stimulating workplace. A workplace where employees can take charge of their own destinies.

Acknowledgement: Toyota Production System

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