A List of Toyota Production System Competitive Advantage Tools

This is a List (not in any Order) of Tools That Give Toyota a Competitive Advantage

Toyota Production System Tools took Toyota to 6+ Sigma. Compare them against your System Tools. Not all tools are uniquely Toyota. The Toyota Production System is very much a continually improving system. This list is roughly in order. There are dependencies such as standardization which must occur before Kata Continuous Improvement, Policy Propagation, and Realization.

1. Start the Toyota Production System Competitive Tools with Operational Guidance

The movement to 6+ Sigma requires guidance. Toyota has changed its Guiding Principals but these are the Principals that took them to 6+ Sigma. How would you get to 6+ Sigma without guidance?

2. This is a key Toyota Production System tool and all their Processes are Standardized. Standardization of Processes is a Starting Point and an End Unto Itself.

The importance of operating standardized processes is obvious but every process in the system? That’s what Toyota does.

3. Value Streams are a Major Key to Toyota’s Success and are Many Dependencies on Them

A Value Stream contains every process from customer order to customer delivery. It gives you Profound Knowledge of every process in the Value Stream. Mapping Value Streams not only changes the direction of your system to a customer focus but it is also a prerequisite to so many other Toyota Production System benefits.

4. This Toyota Production System Tool was only recently Discovered. Subsequently, it Drives Their Continued Success. Kata Continuous Improvement, Policy Propagation, and Realization.

Kata is so powerful that Toyota will not expand into a new plant unless they can get Kata up and running immediately. Kata leads them into the future. Just think of how much you could improve your system with:
  1. 11 ideas per person per year, and
  2. every single idea is in a predefined business-benefiting direction.

This is a strategic program for Toyota and they will not expand unless they can seamlessly implement this program. It was a secret for many years.

5. Above all, Production Leveling Smooths the Flow into any System

Whether you are in manufacturing or any other system, you can benefit from constant input into the system. That is the essence of Production Leveling,

6. To clarify, Flow is the Optimum Method of Process to Process Transfer

Flow is the name of the ideal transfer from one process to the next. Whether you have a “push” or “pull” environment, Flow is better than either.

7. For Manufacturers Only: Autonomation is the Ability of a Machine to Stop if it Detects an Error

Nearly 100 years ago Toyota was a textile manufacturer. They came up with the idea of modifying a loom so that it would stop if a thread broke. This saved a lot of time and mess. This is the start of Autonomation. Autonomation is the ability of a machine to stop if it detects it made a defect.

8. Kanban & Lean Production. Firstly, Kanban is Toyota’s Pull System an Integral Part of Lean Production

Kanban and Lean Production are married together. Kanban is the “Pull” system that enables Lean Production. Kanban is what allows Toyota to only have 2 hours of inventory on their docks. One large Kanban advantage is that it limits inventory from the Supplier to the Dock, from the Dock to the Assembly Line, and within the Assembly Line. There are other advantages but, Inventory reduction is huge.

9. andon, unlike Autonomation, This Toyota Production System Tool requires a Human to Stop the Assembly Line When They Detect a Defect

This is a huge advantage. No matter what system you operate, if it creates defects, then andon can help. Lest you think that it just leads to the eradication of all defects, Toyota still receives about 800 a year in their factories.

10. For Manufacturers Only: Lean Production or Lean Manufacturing is a Toyota Competitive Advantage

Toyota leaped ahead of its competition with its implementation of Lean Production. There are too many advantages to mention here but click on this button to see how Toyota Build its Lean Production System.

11. Visual Control, Specifically Around Kanban, andon, and Processes.

These 3 Visual Control methods keep Toyota employees in the loop for important system status updates.
  1. Kanban – Toyota’s Pull Solution,
  2. andon – Toyota’s defect eradication effort, and
  3. Process Activities – A process audit methodology.

12. Suppliers are a Key Requirement to Toyota’s Success in Becoming a 6+ Sigma Company

Simply, if your operations operate at 6+ Sigma, your suppliers must also operate at 6+ Sigma. Toyota has a relationship with its suppliers where Toyota will actually send Toyota employees to work in Supplier organizations to help improve them so that they meet Toyota’s rigorous requirements.

In Conclusion

Toyota took decades to get to where they are today. It should take you a considerably less amount of time as the study of Toyota can improve the time it takes considerably. It requires the ability to stick to a long-range plan and to execute in the right order. For example, Kata must follow Standardization, as you improve from the standard process.