Toyota Lean Management

When it comes to applying improvements regarding the management processes of our company, the best way is to set as a base the techniques from Toyota, the Japanese automotive company, which are ideal to boost proactivity and efficiency of a team.


What is Lean Management?

At the end of XIX century, Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the famous automotive group Toyota, decided to create a device that detected problems in looms used at his business and, this way, alert employees of possible mistakes. The device was a new ally that did not only allow to substitute old manual techniques for innovative ones, but also save time and, specially, boost proactivity in his team.

This way of thinking continued gaining relevance during most part of the XX century until, in the middle of the 1973 oil crisis, the failure of different Japanese enterprises strengthened (even more) the management of Toyota though the Toyota Production System (TPS), a tool aimed to achieve the following objectives regarding production:

· Define the value from the perspective of the customer. Putting yourself in the customers’ shoes and be demanding.

· Identify each step for a process of production and remove the steps that do not create value.

· Carry out and develop the steps of value creation, those which are essential.

This system not only allowed Toyota to stand still during a crisis, but also to expand to the Western world through Lean Management. This is one method that aims to put together all the different parts of an organization, producing a service focused exclusively on the demand as a way to save time through the best implementations.

Toyota’s 5 “S” of management

The Toyota method emerged as an alternative to Ford’s obsolete model of production. It is a system that helps to define the objective established by Sakichi Toyoda:

· Seiri: Classification of all objects and materials existent in the workplace. Once they are all gathered, certain criteria is defined in which the ones most used are prioritized, while the least used are separated from the rest.

· Seiton: This word is known as “tidiness”, implying that the objects that are used on a daily basis shall be closer depending on its importance.

· Seiso: This “cleaning” evaluates all elements of the company that need to be checked. After that, responsibilities are shared and new ways of preventing “dirt” at the working environment are studied. It is as metaphorical as useful.

· Seiketzu: The phase of standardization is based on a periodical check of aspects while at the same time a document is issued, leaving on record the schedule, rules and responsibilities of the team.

· Shitsue: The last phase of the Toyota method comprehends the behavior of the employee and his/her compromise with the company through the compliance and fulfillment of all the previous “S”.

This “S” strategy do not only encourage the establishment of a company culture, but also comprehends each and every vital aspects for an organization, allowing at the correct order to save time and, this way, offer the best product to the consumer.

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