Open Letter to a Manufacturing CEO

Dear Manufacturing CEO:

Adopt the Toyota Production System for Manufacturing Excellence
You have got to be prepared to take those risks or you … are never going to make that leap in life that you need to make to be a great leader” – Retired Admiral William McRaven.

Firstly, let me paint a picture of your future organization after implementing the expertise of the 6+ Sigma Toyota Production System. The advantages of a maniacal focus on process and system improvement.

  • Everyone in the Manufacturing System is directed toward success
  • The Manufacturing Organization Has Profound Knowledge of its System with Value Streams
  • Everyone on the assembly line becomes a quality inspector through the use of andon:
    1. andon is the stoppage of a manufacturing process when a defect is detected,
    2. Use it to continuously remove defects,
    3. Toyota still receives about 800 andon stops per year per manufacturing plant, and
    4. Toyota has a strategy to minimize the impact of andon stoppages.
  • How come with andon, does Toyota not reduce defects to zero:
    • Kata Continuous Improvement, Policy Propagation, and Realization:
      • 11 Ideas per employee per year,
      • All ideas in a Manufacturing System-controlled direction
      • This creates a winning culture, and
      • All this change leads to unintended defects.
  • Adopt Kanban or Toyota’s Pull Methodology
  • Use Kanban to implement Lean Production
  • Integrate with your Strategic Suppliers for Kanban linkages leading to Just-in-Time deliveries
  • Using Toyota Production System tools utilizes 12 Competitive Advantages, and
  • so on
Lean Six Sigma
  • Consequently, implementing Lean Six Sigma to:
    1. Above all, increase process velocity,
    2. Decrease process costs, and
    3. Subsequently, increase process quality.
Get Credit for the Effort Performed

Apply for a Baldrige Performance Excellence Award for Process Excellence. Part of this process is self-reflection and part is to get feedback from the Baldridge Organization.

In Summary

The Toyota Production System is a 6+ Sigma System and there’s no reason a Manufacturing Organization cannot strive for that level of performance. Think about making progress toward a Malcolm Baldrige Award (indicating the realization of Operational Excellence, a competitive advantage). The above list is but a short summary of how your future Manufacturing Organization will function. The time to start is today.


Jim FitzGerald

Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt


Apply the Tools of The Six Sigma Toyota Production System to Manufacturers.

Build Your 6+ Sigma Manufacturing System.