Toyota Production System
The Toyota Production System (TPS) has achieved worldwide renown amongst both carmakers and manufacturers of other products. TPS is synonymous to elimination of "mudas-unnecessary wasting of resources" from systems and resulting with increased efficiency. The overall aim is to direct all of the resources of a production line toward delivering a top-quality product for the customer.
"Just-in-time" production philosophy, is one of main elements of TPS. Production is done if a "customer" requests from related work center. Customer is the potential car owner in a Toyota plaza, Customer is the following process in a production line. Product is delivered "just in time" neither early, nor late.
The keystone to the TPS is a vision of production whereby the end product is literally "pulled" through the system, starting with the raw materials and ending with the final assembly of the vehicle. As the product is drawn along the manufacturing line, parts and materials are called up from suppliers only as necessary.
"Kanbans" are used to express our job requests from related parties. If there is no kanban, we do not waste valuable resources of the World for production for stocks. This enables us to trace problems. Big stockyards are best places where problems can hide themselves easily. "Andon" chords are used by every team member to alert others. If there is a problem, andon rope is pulled and a bulb is lighted at that location while a buzzer rings. Team Leaders, Group leaders come to that location to see the root cause of problem. In case problem could not be solved instantly, whole line stops in order not to let it continue.
This is a "culture" where all team seeks for solving problems and strives for improving their jobs continuously. Success of TPS depends on good training. Therefore, on the job trainings and sharing of experience in the form of trainings at successful plants are important.
TPS is fully applicable if suppliers apply this production system themselves as well.
This is a win-win situation where, customers, automakers and suppliers benefit from advantages of efficiency increase.
At the heart of TPS, there is respect. "Respect for nature and respect for people" is the driving force in all activities of Toyota and it encourages us for Continuous Improvement.