Nice Toyota Production System Intro Video from the UK

andon pull

A Toyota employee, pictured at left, pulls an andon cord in a video shared by Toyota UK:  Factory to Forecourt – Introduction to the Toyota Production System.

As the video explains, “every team member has the right to stop the line if he sees something that’s not quite right.” The video continues “everyone’s involved… it’s not just top down… we encourage, as we call it, bottom up… so if a team member comes to me [the team leader] and says ‘I have an idea for  this, you don’t ignore it, because nobody has a better idea than that member. The biggest asset we’ve got are the guys who work here.”

Here is the video:

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It’s a really nice two-minute overview. If you have colleagues who think Lean/TPS isn’t all about engaging everybody in improvement, have them watch this video… and then talk about how you can create a similar environment where:

  • Everybody is allowed to call time out when they think there is a problem (even if there’s not a physical cord to pull)
  • Somebody comes to help IMMEDIATELY
  • Nobody is blamed personally for creating the problem
  • Nobody is punished for slowing down the work because of a quality/safety concern (even if it turns out to not be a problem)
  • People work together on identifying problems and solving problems (at the root cause)

If  Toyota can do this for cars and trucks, shouldn’t hospitals do this too? As the slogan at the end of the video says: “Always a better way.”

Because the accent is a bit thick at times, I turned on the YouTube automated captions… which aren’t always accurate… sometimes comically so!

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Nobody has better ideas than Batman?




I’m not sure how the word “death” appeared randomly on screen.




I’m not sure what the “carpark fool position” is

carpark fool position



No explosions please!




I doubt they hate him:

he hate me


Ah, defects in the auto-translation process…

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Geoff says

    Hi Mark, nice video. Not sure if you caught this but there are 4 others on you tube which expand on the different production process. (click on related)

  2. Mike Davidge says

    Hi Mark

    The accent you struggled with is probably from Nottinghamshire in the East Midlands, UK. And I’m guessing then that the film was made at Toyota’s Burnaston plant near Derby.

    1. Mark Graban

      Thanks, It was just a few words I had trouble making out… sometimes it’s accent and sometimes slang. When I worked in England for 8 weeks a few years back, my British clients and I were constantly amusing ourselves with discovering new terms that the other didn’t understand (medical and otherwise) and pronunciation differences (even discovering something new in week 8).

      Going out to pick up blood specimens (in the lorry, not the truck) on a route (I’d say “rout” and they’d say “root”).

      They were amused when I’d use the term “administrator” to mean a senior leader and, to them, it meant secretary. I’d hear “consultant” and not realize, at first, they meant a specialist physician, not some outsider who was being taught to teach something or lead a project.

      Two countries separated by a common language! :-)

  3. Michelle Powell says

    Thank you for sharing Mark. This same concept can apply to all types of operations and is a concept that should certainly be embraced.

  4. Dan Spurrier says

    Not to be picky, but I found it amusing that you were
    making fun of the YouTube captions but you put “Because the
    accident is a bit thick at times” when I’m pretty sure you meant
    “accent” ; )

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