Toyota and the “Thinking Production System”


Comments from Toyota's managing director of global purchasing

Many interesting comments here from someone who worked directly for/with Taiichi Ohno. He comments on developing workers who can think — TPS being the “Thinking Production System.”

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He also makes more detailed comments about global purchasing. The goal, he says, actually is to increase the level of local procurement. I assume this is done to minimize total supply chain costs (low inventory and fast response), rather than sourcing from the cheapest piece price country. Finding a global benchmark price is motivation for figuringt out how to produce it cheaper locally. I would assume that, through lean, you can still be cheaper even with higher labor costs. That certainly is the challenge for all of us here in the U.S. and other high wage countries.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. […] Either way, if “the way we’ve always done Lean” is becoming rigid or is no longer helping, we need to ask why… we need to improve. There’s a reason Toyota people call TPS the “Thinking Production System.” […]

  2. […] lend itself to “obedience.” Toyota wants its people to think — hence the “Thinking Production System” (I know, sounds like a slogan, but it’s a good […]

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