The Success Story of Toyota
Doing more with less. These simple words are describing the production system which has revolutionized industry. The Toyota Production Systems introduced the theory of lean manufacturing containing the following principles in order to achieve maximum profit and high productivity: continuous flow, just-in-time (JIT), standardized work, quality and reduction of waste.
Toyota Production Systems had impacted manufacturing worldwide becoming the world’s third-largest automaker (in 2000).
But lean manufacturing can be even more than saving a lot of money and avoiding the waste of time. It protects our environment at the same time.
Why? – Because environmentalism is just the result of efficient working processes, less waste and better-running equipment. (enter here for more information)
But ATTENTION! Lean manufacturing is a complex system which highly relies on every employee of the company. Without the support of your assistants it does not work and that is why workshops are invented where employees are discovering a new way to think: to think lean. The way of thinking is the essential tool for new ideas and innovations.
Furthermore, some estimate that only two to five percent of the attempts to go lean succeed, what means that at least 95 % fail. One reason may be the nature of human being to relax after attaining the first success, but the lean process requires time. Companies using the lean tools only for short-term gain will fail sooner or later after they achieved some limited success. Hence companies have to focus on tomorrow not on yesterday.
What happens if you take lean manufacturing too far is what we see looking at Toyota 2009. 8, 5 million cars had to be called back and Toyota faced its worst crisis ever. The recent recalls regarding the insecurity can be traced back to the fact that Toyota stretched its lean manufacturing philosophy to the breakpoint in order to become the number one car manufacturer worldwide.
Today, Toyota recovered from its backlash and is still a very strong company.
Moreover, the theory of lean is based on respect for the people and continuous improvement. In one sentence it is the pursuit of the ideal state. Therefore there is no lean company because there will always be some problems which should force the company to improve continuously.