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Toyota® Production System

The Toyota® Production System began in earnest in post World War II Japan as a way of managing operations in a challenging economic time.

The Toyota Production System really began as a synthesis of Henry Ford’s operations and those of the U.S. supermarket system.

Taiichi Ohno, often credited as the founder of the Toyota Production System saw the value in using supermarket-like inventory management to make production systems more efficient.

Among other things, the Toyota Production System introduced the ability to be more flexible in car manufacturing. In the early years, Ford’s production lines were very static. The early Model-T’s in fact, had very few options, and those that were available were installed toward the end of the production process.

The Toyota Production System, with lower inventory, better signals, and short changeovers, made providing multiple product options a real possibility.

The Toyota Production System is the first example of modern Lean. (One of the earliest uses of the term ‘Lean’ comes in The Machine That Changed the World.)

The Toyota Production System is really a management system that uses Lean tools to do problem solving. It is one of the reasons why Toyota is so open with information about their production methods—they know that the culture that the Toyota Production System thrives in is hard to copy.

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