Principle 11 in Lean Management : Grow with the best partners

Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.

Toyota has very high standards of excellence and helps all its partners rise to those standards. Before doing this : be the first in your market or admit that you’re not and you want to learn. Develop people first. Find solid partners and grow together to mutual benefit in the long term. Work together toward command goals. Work with partners for mutual learning and through real projects on the shop floor.

Give very small orders to new suppliers and observe their sincerity and commitment.

About Respect
Respect is having very high expectations for their suppliers and then treating them fairly and teaching them. Treating them softly is disrespectful and switching partners because another one is a few percentage cheaper is unthinkable.

Toyota outsources the key components but doesn’t want to lose intern capability. Toyota outsources 70% but wants to be an expert for every new technology needed.

Make “Jishuken”
It’s an experience with voluntary groups of suppliers with a TPS expert. You ask a radical transformation to create huge improvements in cost, quality, and delivery. Strict targets are set and achieved.

Note : In the US, we need a less punitive approach, more time and more visits.

The Maslow’s pyramid for suppliers

    1. Fair and honorable business relations
    1. Stable, reliable processes
    1. Clear expectations
    1. Enabling systems, not coercive : don’t lose time with studies and prototypes. Let’s do something, let’s go and we will improve it.
  1. Be a learning entreprise

“When there is a problem, Toyota comes up with a solution. They focus on making it better, not placing blame.”


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