Lean Management : Introduction to The Toyota Way

(English) This series of articles will explain what is Lean Management and why it’s very close to Minimalism.

Toyota is very famous for its approach to Lean Management. But what is it exactly ? Why is it similar to Minimalism ? What can bring Lean Mgmt to companies and individuals ?

Lean Management

The Lean Mgmt is a philosophy for companies for speeding up processes, reducing waste and improving quality.

The Toyota Way = Continuous Improvement + Respect for People

Continuous Improvement is about challenging everything and embracing change.

“The key of the Toyota Way is having all the elements together as a system. It must be practised every day in a very consistent manner. Not in spurts.” – Fujio Cho

In the next articles, you will learn what are the 14 principles of the Toyota Way. They are segmented in 4 categories :

  1. It’s a long term Philosophie. Every goal must be thinking in a long term way. Even if we work for short goals.
  2. The right Process will produce the right results. Process and Flow are very important to reach quality.
  3. Add value to the organisation by developing your People and Partners. Toyota builds people, not cars.
  4. Continuously solving root Problems drives organisational learning.

Here are some notes we will explore later:

  • The secret of Toyota’s success is operational excellence.
  • Senior must be involved in the day-to-day operations and continuous improvement.
  • When you make lead times short and focus on keeping production flexible, you actually get higher quality, better customer responsiveness, better productivity and better utilisation of equipment and space.
  • Avoid over-production
  • Leveling out the schedule (heijunka) is a foundation for flow and pull systems and for minimising inventory in the supply chain.
  • Don’t make your employees work as fast as possible just for the sake of taking the maximum of their rentability.

Who is Lean?

A lot of companies think they are Lean. But actually, less than 1% of them have the real Lean Philosophy of Toyota.

Most of companies are only focused on identifying, enumerating, and eliminating the wasted time and effort in the existing process. We need first to map the value stream and response to this question: What value are we adding from the customer’s perspective?

 


The content of this post is inspired by the book “The Toyota Way” – Jeffrey K. Liker