Japanese quality movement was a miracle and created world-class products. All these methodologies and concepts developed these quality gurus for internal process and quality improvement crisis are still practiced in various companies. These have become universal approach to improve the quality and manage performance crisis. Quality gurus created work culture and dedicated teams, which developed Japanese production systems through group activities. Toyota Corporation developed a new philosophy to create major change in manufacturing systems and delivered world-class products with internal benchmark for quality of vehicles. In reality, Toyota changed external business environment for competitors and created a long-lasting impact on automobile industry.
The Toyota Way is a set of principles and behaviors that underlie the Toyota Motor Corporation’s managerial approach and production system. It consists of principles in two key areas: continuous improvement, and respect for people. Toyota use operational excellence as a strategic weapon. Company places the highest value on actual implementation and taking action. By constant improvement based upon the actions, one can rise to the higher levels of practice and knowledge. Toyota success story can be summed up by using three models, which are used by Toyota Corporation. These models are explained below;
1. 4P Model
Toyota has developed 14 principles for performance improvement. These principles are guiding thumb rules in Toyota. These 14 principles are divided into four sections and a unique 4P model is developed. Major thrust is given on teamwork and a systematic approach is developed by using these principles. These 4Ps are Problem Solving, Process and Partners, Process, Philosophy.
- P1- Long Term Philosophy: Toyota is serious about long-term thinking. The focus from the very top of the company is to add value to customers and society. This drives a long-term approach to building a learning organization, one that can adapt top change in the environment and survive as a productive organization. Without this foundation, none of the investments Toyota makes in continuous improvement and learning would be possible.
- P2- The Right Process: Toyota is a process-oriented company. They have learned through experience what processes work, beginning with the idea of one-piece flow. Flow is the key to achieving best quality at the lowest cost with high safety and moral. At Toyota, this process is built into company’s DNA, and managers believe in their hearts that using the right process will lead to the results they desire.
- P3- Add value to the organization by developing people and partners: The Toyota way includes a set of tools that are designed to support the people continuously improving and continuously developing. One-piece flow is very demanding process that quickly surfaces problems that demand for solutions or production will stop. This suits Toyota’s employee development goals perfectly because it gives people the sense of urgency needed to confront business problems. The view of management at Toyota is that they build people not just cars.
- P4- Continuous solving root problems: The highest level of the Toyota way is organizational learning. Identifying root cause of problems and preventing them from occurring is the focus of Toyota’s continuous learning system. Tough analysis, reflection and communication of lessons learned are central to improvement as is the discipline to standardize the best-known practices.
2. Toyota Production System
This is a concept similar to construction of a house having a strong foundation and pillars supporting final goal of having a strong roof, which will protect everybody in the house. The figure shows the strong foundation of a production house. The foundation for best production system is laid by commitment of top management by developing Toyota philosophy. This philosophy supports visual management and, stable and standardized processes. Aim of stable and standardized processes is to have leveled production. Toyota production system has two strong pillars of JIT concept and In Station Quality. JIT system ensures thorough planning, continuous flow and pull system for production. Company believes in customer satisfaction and lowest through put time. Quick changeover and integrated logistics are key areas for success of JIT. Toyota has a major thrust in inbuilt quality of products. Production line is stopped until problem is resolved.
Toyota production system protects people in the organization, and has a principle “People First”. Company believes in Team Work, and people are trained in cross functional areas to handle the problems and develop innovative solution. Toyota Production system has one important aspect of Waste reduction. Identification and elimination of waste is ongoing process. Waste is nothing but identification of non-value adding elements, which can be avoided to reduce through put time. Toyota Production System is dedicated to complete customer satisfaction. Performance measurement parameters for customer satisfaction are best quality, lowest cost, least throughput time, best safety and high morale.
3. Toyota Problem Solving Process
Toyota has developed a unique funneling model to develop better solutions for the problems faced. The process starts with conceptualization of the problem to standardization of the solution. People at all operating levels are encouraged to use this model. People are trained continuously to develop mastery on the model. This five-step model generates a solution for the problem by using systematic approach. This model now a day is used in marketing to convert prospects to loyal customer.
In built capability to follow a systematic approach and arrive at a better solution is a unique character of this problem solving methodology. The process has a sequential approach, which provides an insight for resolution of problem. At the initial stage, a vague, large complicated problem is formulated. Through the process, problem is further clarified and a precise definition of problem is made. Basic cause and investigation is done by applying “5 Why” questions in continuation with previous questions. Series of Why questions generate more insight of the problem. With a series of questions, root cause identification and understanding of the situation is improved. This may lead to reformation of the problem itself. After identification of root cause, solutions are derived by performing brain storming sessions, counter measure actions are initiated and finally process is standardized. The process looks simple but it requires a complete attitudinal change to master the process.