The Toyota Production System (TPS) is a method of manufacturing that seeks to eliminate waste in all forms. This manufacturing approach is based on two key philosophies: Jidoka or autonomation (automation with human touch) and Just-in-time (minimizing work in process). A way of thinking about it is that production lines can be automated, but they cannot be 100% automatic – there must be a way for people to intervene and make decisions. Engagement is key. And, we must minimize the buildup of inventory at all stages since this is a leading contributor to waste (muda).
The Toyota production system originated at Toyota in Japan in the 1950s and is based on the philosophy of continuous improvement and standard work. The TPS initiated the Lean revolution. Since TPS started, Lean has evolved to incorporate methods and applications beyond those included in the
For example, Lean and Operational Excellence methods have evolved well beyond discrete manufacturing and the factory. Entire end-to-end value chains can be evaluated and improved. If there is one thing the TPS teaches us it is that the methods and approaches to efficient and effective product and service delivery are ever evolving and improving.
You can find out about it directly from the source here: Toyota Production System. Or, there are a number of very good books and documents on the topic including:
- The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker
- Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System from the Harvard Business review.