In my first post I introduced you to the Toyota Production System and the Kanban signalling system. At the core of the TPS is the concept of maintaining efficiency and eliminating waste. To govern this processes the TPS has a series of basic principles that articulate how this is achieved:
- Create continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface
- Use the “pull” system to avoid overproduction
- Level out or smooth the workload AKA “Heijunka” - be the tortoise not the hare
- Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right from the first
- Standardized tasks are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment
- Use visual control so no problems are hidden
- Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.
I’ve skipped all the TPS rules around long-term thinking (for example the first principle of the TPS - Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals), corporate harmony, people development and organisational learning. I haven’t skipped them because they aren’t important but because they aren’t immediately relevant to this discussion. If you haven’t got the others right too though I suspect your organisation will go pear-shaped in other ways. In each of the subsequent posts I am going to look at one of the seven principles I’ve articulated above, starting with exploring how you can make continuous process flow work for you.