If you only ever read one book on the Toyota Production System or Lean Manufacturing then this book by Taiichi Ohno is the one.
There are many 100’s of books and articles written about TPS/Lean Manufacturing but none provide the foundations that this book by Taiichi Ohno does. There were cultural developments about performance improvement occurring within Toyota from the 1930s in Japan however, Taiichi Ohno is credited with the true hands-on work at the “coal face”, on the factory floor, to develop the foundations of TPS and drive the benefits in a most uncompromising way. The fundamental message was simple; “look for and eliminate waste”.
Chapter 1 introduces the need for focussing on waste. Much of which is still applicable today. Also, the basis for the Toyota Production System are clarified; that is the absolute elimination of waste and the two pillars to support his are “just-in-time” and “autonomation” or automation with a human touch.
Chapter 2 looks at the evolution of TPS, in particular, problem solving by asking WHY five times – or 5 Why Analysis. The concepts of Standard Work, Teamwork, Kanban, Flow and Levelling are introduced.
Chapter 3 extends the above concepts in more depth.
Chapter 4 talks about the background to the development of TPS and provides a clearer view how the elimination of waste became entrenched in Toyota from very early in Toyota’s life through to today.
Chapter 5 discusses the differences between the Ford system (mass production from early in the 20th century) and the Toyota Production System and highlights where the respective upsides and downsides may apply.
Chapter 6 covers the use of TPS in a low growth environment and making use of available resources.
This book is not a text book on how to do or implement the benefits of TPS. This book is about the philosophy that underpins TPS and Lean. It will help you set your baseline on where to start when considering if the concepts developed for TPS are likely to be suitable for your business.
[Other books by Taiichi Ohno are “Taiichi Ohno’s Workplace Management” and “Just-in-Time for Today and Tomorrow”.]
Author: Taiichi Ohno
Productivity Press ISBN 0-915299-14-3
Original Japanese version 1978
English translation 1988 by Productivity Press