The basic idea of Toyota Production System was to produce a large number of models in smaller quantities. This, rather than mass production that was so prevalent in the westen countries. This mass production meant that the producer that used complex machines and technologically advanced processes, promote efficiency by producing huge quantities of the same product, which is then placed on stock in anticipation of the next stage of production or distribution. Toyota did not have the financial resources to compete with American companies with that sort of mass production. They were certainly inspired by it, but at the same time they saw the obvious shortcomings with it. One of the main deficiencies they observed was the widespread wastage in production. This waste toyota discribes as muda or waste.
The basic of TPS is to eliminate waste, which they are trying to do through the two cornerstones of just-in-time and "automation" (automation with a human touch). These two cornerstones are complementary each other. Just-in-time is about the interaction (teamwork) in order to achieve the set objectives and autonomous tion about the individual skills of each individual.
The idea of just-in-time is that you should build up a flow in the production processes. Just-in-time simply means that every production should be facilitated and streamlined by exactly the needed parts arrive in the right quantity, at the right stage of production, at the right time.
Kanban is a autonomous generation that means that the machines should be given human intelligence. This simply means that the machine itself will detect when something has gone wrong and thereby independent interrupt the process so that it can be examined, investigated and addressed. Autonomous tion also affects employees' work. Thanks to the machines provided experiences need not controlled to the same extent. This means that one person can keep track of multiple machines instead of the sitting one or more people at each machine. This will also streamline employees' work.
Taiichi Ohno's vision of machines is one of the aspects that are most characterizing the TPS. He meant that there were far too strong focus on acquiring and developing high-tech machines and then talk, undeserved, well on these. He requested, therefore, less technology talk and more action. High-tech machines could under Taiichi admittedly, in some situations, play their role, but was for the most hyped.
Seeing the need for a new machine, before this is acquired, was Taiichi obvious. Taiichi said that the need for a new machine was almost always a result of poor enforcement of the machines they already had. Continuous care of the machinery was therefore very central to TPS.
Modern, high-tech and fast operating machines were as Taiichi often difficult to adapt to the amount that would be produced. This process was simply a lot more time consuming than asking if a less advanced machine. The result was simply that they were chosen to produce large quantities of the same part as long as the machine was running. This will very likely have to over-production and large stocks. TPS is based instead on a mindset where flexibility is most important. Taiichi said that it was important that the production could quickly change. The high-tech machines are simply not allowed this shift. Machinery manufacturing products in high tempo also tend to have a higher error rate, which is not desirable in the TPS where the company is working to eliminate waste. Here comes the splash of autonomous production in handy. Taiichi said that it was important to try to prevent errors rather than raise it up and then try to heal them. The machines will simply label of anomalies and stop before it has gone too wrong.
With regard to personnel and equipment staffing issue Taiichi thought it was important to reduce staffing as much as possible. The ultimate was a human machine that required no crew at all. This was, and is, in principle, impossible, and he proposed a reduction in staffing for example, that a person had to take care of three machines instead of three people taken care of one machine. The irony in this context may seem to Taiichi while talking so well about teamwork and its positive effects on production.
Taiichi Ohno said that there were two ways to achieve efficiency. One was by increasing their production quantity, and the other to reduce personnel number. Cost minimization is as Taiichi always the goal to strive for. For this to be possible, the production quantity to be in equilibrium with demand and staff number as low as possible. Taiichi meant that instead of reducing their staff through layoffs shall ensure that simply can not hire more staff than you need. This might be perceived as an inhumane approach to their employees, but Taiichi considered that it was important to be sure to train and educate staff so that they became better at their work. He also suggested that it was important that it was the staff on the floor who decided how the necessary standardization of work processes would seem. Taiichi argued that an organization in which the brain (the lead) must constantly take all decisions can not be effective. It was therefore important that the responsibility and power transfer took place in precarious situations down at the floor. Staff must, in other words, within certain limits, be able to act to solve the production problems encountered.