Every Monday will be dedicated to The Toyota Way. Each chapter of this amazing book will be reviewed, summarised and key take-outs will be identified.

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The Toyota Way explains Toyota’s unique approach to Lean management. The Steel Efficiency Review™ is based on this approach, as our SER® Consultants discover how the right combination of long term philosophy, processes, and problem solving can transform our customer’s operations into lean and learning enterprises.

So let’s start with Chapter One – Using Operational Excellence As A Strategic Weapon.

According to Fujio Cho, President of Toyota (2002) – “We place the highest value on actual implementation and taking action. There are many things one doesn’t understand and therefore, we ask them why don’t you just go ahead and take action, try to do something? You realize how little you know and you face your own failures and you simply can correct those failures and redo it again and at the second trial you realize another mistake or another thing you didn’t like so you can redo it once again. So by constant improvement, or, should I say, the improvement based upon action, one can rise to the higher level of practice and knowledge.”

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Much of Toyota’s success comes from its standards on quality and continuous improvement. The 4P model (see image above) of the Toyota Way describes this journey starting with the Philosophy of basing decisions on a long-term approach. The Process is then critical to determine how you identify problems, standardize tasks, level out workload, and stop when there is a quality problem. People and Partners respecting and developing each other to provide growth and live the philosophy. And finally the 4th P – Problem Solving providing for continual learning, to make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implementing rapidly.

To best explain this model and its use in our customer’s operations can be captured in the following quote by Taiichi Ohno, founder of the Toyota Production System: “All we are doing is looking at the time line from the moment the customer gives us the order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing that time line by removing the non-value added wastes.”

Chapter One re-confirms how our SER® Consultants attempt to work closely with our customers to create a true learning environment. The 4P model, in particular People and Partners, and Problem Solving is executed to provide the following:

  • A thorough understanding of our customer’s issues and bottlenecks
  • An open discussion about our key findings
  • Turning those findings into opportunities for improvement
  • Both parties working closely to become partners
  • Building trust for years to come – long term foundation

Chapter One sets the scene to further motivate our business to continue learning and inspire our people to be successful in the long-term. We look forward to keeping you posted.

The Steel Efficiency Review™ team.

Images by The Steel Efficiency Review™

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