Toyota Production System Stands the Test of Time

The Toyota Production System (TPS)

The TPS is renowned for its focus on reduction of the seven wastes to improve overall customer value. If you haven’t read the originator, Taiichi Ohno’s version, find a copy. ( The 106 pages in this book will provide you with all “you really need to know” about quality and improving workflow in any organization. Hotel Dieu Hospital in Windsor, ON used this approach to reduce the waiting time in their emergency ward to 78 minutes in 2010: (

In a nutshell, the method Ohno describes is mainly the reduction of  ‘waste’ or ‘muda’.

Some of the wastes he identified include:

• Transport – moving products that are not actually required to perform processing

• Inventory – all components, work in process, finished products not being moved further along the line

• Motion – people or equipment moving or walking more than needed to perform the process

• Waiting – waiting for the next production or delivery step

• Overproduction – production ahead of demand

• Over Processing – resulting from poor tool or product design creating activity

• Defects – the effort involved in inspecting for and fixing defects

In recent years, other practitioners have added wastes such as ‘goods or services that do not meet customer demand or specifications’ and ‘unused human talent’.

John Seddon in the UK has been using the TPS for almost 30 years, mainly with services. He has lots of great information here on his Vanguard Consulting website (this is the ‘Library’):

We have used Seddon’s approach to design and implement a number of ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems for service organizations. It works! And with 2015 here, it is an opportunity to ‘lean’ our Management Systems.

Here’s the link to our Youtube channel: