Visiting the Toyota Museum in Nagoya


While I'm in Japan this week (read about the trip), I'm going to keep my blogging light – my aim is to share one picture or thought each day.

The tour starts on Monday with a visit to a Toyota assembly plant.

On Sunday, I went to the Toyota Museum. There was quite a large exhibit about the Toyota Production System. There were a few signs that had slightly different definitions of TPS. One, in particular, said:

The Toyota Production System - continual improvements toward profound evolution through full participation of all employees.

Other signs talked about the dual pillars of “jidoka” (automation with a human touch, for quality) and “just in time” production.

But I like how this sign focused on kaizen and continual improvements.

“There are no bounds to improvement.”

“Full participation of all employees.”

“…refusing to ever be complacent.”

japan lean healthcare tour posts

That's powerful. That spirit is much harder to copy than isolated Lean tools. That's what makes TPS so meaningful.

The exhibit had many examples of employee Kaizen efforts from the factories.

An early Toyota motto, as emphasized on the tour was “Always be studious and creative, striving to stay ahead of the times.”

TPS Overview Video

2022 Update: At least at the moment, the Toyota Production System overview video, as shown at the museum, is on YouTube:

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


    • I read an article not long ago about Dr. Deming yelling (sort of) at the Japanese in about 1990, chastising them for adopting American-style performance review systems and such. I’ll try to ask if that’s still the case.


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