Mark Graban's leanblog.org - Lean Healthcare, Lean Hospitals, Healthcare Kaizen, Lean Thinking, Lean Manufacturing, Toyota Production System

Global domination, the Toyota way

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The Globe and Mail::

This is a pretty good overview, “state of Toyota” article. The article discusses how TPS is about more than just reducing waste and cutting costs. “Everybody” now does just-in-time delivery, but there's obviously more to TPS than that — the mindset is much less easy to copy.

This quote relates kaizen to product development. They took the vans to the “gemba” (or actual place), in this case the highways of America to figure out the right minivan design.

“So when it came time to redesign the Sienna, Yuji Yokoya, chief engineer for the vehicle, drove 80,000 kilometres around North America in various types of minivans, trying to figure out what worked. On a bridge over the Mississippi River, for example, he learned the new vehicle needed more stability to deal with crosswinds.

The result of his journey was the larger, more powerful and cupholder-laden Sienna that more than holds its own against the competition. That experience demonstrates the company's ability to learn.”

You could argue that a true thinking and learning company wouldn't take four tries to get a minivan right, but how would cars and trucks be better across the board if all companies had a chief engineer willing to do research like that?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is an anthology 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. His next book, to be released in 2018, is Measures of Success.

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