It's Monday morning in Nagoya, Japan as I write this. I'm still jet-lagged and up early, so here's a blog post after all…
Sunday, I had the chance to visit the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya. There's so much that I can blog about…I'll write more posts about my museum visit in the future.
The museum has been updated and overhauled quite significantly, but there is still an exhibit on the Toyota Production System, an area that focuses heavily on “Kaizen,” including this sign:
That sign was the same in 2014, before the renovation. I blogged about it in 2012, including a similar photo.
I'd suggest your organization shouldn't call what you're doing, practicing, or “implementing” as “Lean” if you're not actively working toward the FULL participation of ALL employees in continuous improvement. Kaizen is such a core element of the Toyota Production System. If “Lean” is a different name or an adaption of TPS, then Lean must include Kaizen… not just a bunch of tools, training, or projects.
The gift shop sells a number of books about TPS in Japanese and in English. Here are two of the Japanese books:
One cover is translated as “A Basics of the Toyota Production System” and Taiichi Ohno is listed as the author. I wonder if that is the book that was translated into English as Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production?
Google Translate says that cover reads:
- Toyota Production Method
- The Origin
- “Strengthen the field strength”
- What is management philosophy
- It's a re-editing a re-release of the book that includes a DVD of the author?
The other book says “Toyota Production System” on the cover.” Google Translate tells me it says:
- Founder of Toyota Production System
- “Ohno records” — so I'm guessing this is a book drawn from Taiichi Ohno's records?
- The author is Mitsumasa Kumazawa, I believe
I bought this set of three books, which were only about $7.50 each. They are full of text and drawings that I will try to read through Google Translate:
In English, you can see phrases like:
- Zero mistakes
- Toyota's amazing improvement techniques
- Communication that inspires motivation is possible!
- Toyota's art of work that ensures results
- The uncanny custom and work way of Toyota – secret know-how which only the world's number one company is doing
Many are inspired by Toyota? What's the thing that “only” Toyota is doing?? I will dig into the book to see what they tell me.
The books that were available in English aren't some of the well-known books you like expect, such as The Toyota Way or any of the books written by Womack, Jones, or Shook. The museum's video on the history of TPS does mention The Machine That Changed the World.
The books are:
- Toyota Supply Chain Management: A Strategic Approach to Toyota's Renowned System
- Extreme Toyota: Radical Contradictions That Drive Success at the World's Best Manufacturer
- Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man who Invented the Toyota Production System
And another book I love very much:
- The Spirit of Kaizen: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time: Creating Lasting Excellence One Small Step at a Time
I've done a podcast with the author, an American psychologist named Robert Maurer, PhD:
It's interesting that they would choose to highlight that book out of the hundreds of books out there about Lean or TPS. I'm happy to see it. The “spirit of kaizen” is a very important aspect of Toyota, of course.
When I was in the museum, playing with an interactive display about Kaizen, one of the museum employees saw I was struggling to figure it out. As he showed me how to use the error proofing fixture, he explained:
“Many many Kaizens… many Kaizens make a big difference.”
That's certainly one of the themes of this week's tour. Today, we visit one of the Toyota plants, so I'll be sharing about that.
Here is one of my favorite stories from my 2014 trip:
I'll ask our guide again today if they have done a Kaizen improvement.
Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.
Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation: