Today we are going to talk about the Toyota Production System (TPS) and we are going to compare it with the conventional mass production system. This simple comparison will show how the TPS assigns large amount of responsibility to the employees at each site. This shows the level of commitment of Toyota.
"The biggest difference between the Toyota Production System and Conventional mass-production formats is the large amount of responsibility and authority that the former assigns to employees at each worksite. A commitment to the workplace is a tradition at Toyota. It was the founder of Toyota’s automobile operations, Kiichiro Toyoda, who often said that any engineer who didn’t get his hands dirty at least three times a day was no engineer at all. Today, the workplace remains the seat of management authority for production operations at Toyota.
Numerous features of the Toyota Production System are tools for enabling employees to manage as many functions as possible right at their worksites. KANBAN are a prominent example. So are the standardized work charts that outline each job clearly.
Visual control is vital to worksite management. Everyone must be able to see easily and immediately if work is proceeding smoothly and on schedule. Numbered lamps on large display panels indicate at a glance if and where any employee in the plant has indicated a problem by using a line-stop button or rope. Line-stop clocks indicate to the second the aggregate down time for the day. Performance analysis boards show the status of production in relation to goals.
Worksite management is for executives at Toyota, as well as for line employees. Members of management remain true to their roots in production and marketing, where most of them begin their careers. Top executives make frequent visit to the workplace-plants, suppliers, dealers – to check on the progress of work with their own eyes. And they act on what they see."
Acknowledgement: Toyota Production System