What’s Driving Toyota?
Here is a fairly broad overview of Toyota, written for a tech magazine audience. There are good details about the Kentucky plant and TPS (including some quotes from Jeff Liker), so it's a good read even if you're not interested in tech or software.
From the article, an interesting point:
“Technology does not drive business processes at Toyota. The Toyota Production System does. However, technology plays a critical role by supporting, enabling and bringing to life on a mass scale the processes derived by adhering to TPS.
‘What strikes me about Toyota is, if you were to ask them if they have a technology strategy, they would probably say no, we have a business strategy,' says Philip Evans, a senior vice president at the Boston Consulting Group who has studied Toyota. ‘They have a very clear understanding of the role technology plays in supporting the business.'”
Another comment from the article:
“Little musical jingles are heard everywhereâ€”they all seem to sound the same to visitors, but assembly line workers can tell just by the jingle if there's a problem at their workstation and what might be the cause.”
This is something that Dr. Liker talked about in the Podcast, how there are constantly chimes and songs playing — that means there are constant problems. The difference with TPS is that Toyota doesn't hide its problems — it identifies them and FIXES them at a root cause level. How many of workplaces try to hide problems so nobody gets into trouble?
“No problem is problem.” — Toyota Proverb