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Lean Management Techniques
Toyota founder Sakichi Toyoda, along with his son Kiichiro Toyoda and chief Toyota engineer Taiichi Ohno, developed a manufacturing process called TPS. TPS stands for Toyota Production System with a view to ridding its factories of ‘Muda’ which in English translates to ‘waste’. TPS is more commonly known as Lean Management and has become one of the most popular (and more commonly strived for) ways of working in most businesses. So, what are the three core areas that need to be focussed on?
3 Core Areas of Lean Management
There are three core areas of lean management. According to Routledge Tayor & Francis Group. (2021) Lean Management focuses on these three principal areas:
- Defining value from the customers viewpoint
- Eliminating all waste within the business
- Continuously improve all work processes (this includes people and purposes)
Toyota successfully developed five key principles that must be adhered to meet these three core areas of lean management.
These five principles of lean management techniques are:
- Specify what creates value for customers
- Identify steps to achieve along the process chain
- Make the processes flow by eliminating waste
- Respond to customer demand
- Strive for perfection by continual improvement
To achieve the goals needed to meet the core areas and the principles, Toyota implement the Jidoka method, more commonly known in this country as the Just-In-Time system which combines the “automation with a human touch” as pictured in the diagram below.
The Just-In Time Method
The Just-In-Time method makes “…only what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed.” Adhering to this principle promotes the eradication of waste of all kinds. An example of this way of working is highlighted below at the Toyota Kentucky production line. The staff are trained to recognise when there is a fault in production and stop the line. They pull a cord and alert everyone that production must be stopped, and all members of the team must congregate together to examine the problem. The problem is resolved either with the help of the team members or by a power further up the hierarchy, then improvements are incorporated into the standard workflow. Team members must be able to rely on each other, feel comfortable to discuss things openly, and accountable for their own actions, for this method to work. Therefore, it is extremely important to have an effective team in place from the beginning.
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