The Toyota Way – 14 Management Principles

I completed listening ‘The Toyota Way’ audio-book by Jeffrey Liker.  The book talks about 14 priciples of Toyota Production Systems (TPS).  There are many gems that I think could be of use in Information Technology Project Managment.  Here are 14 TPS management principles –

1.   Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals.

2.   Create a continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface.

3.   Use “pull” systems to avoid overproduction.

4.   Level out the workload (heijunka). (Work like the tortoise, not the hare.)

5.   Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.

6.   Standardized tasks and processes are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment.

7.   Use visual control so no problems are hidden.

8.   Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.

9.   Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.

10.  Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company’s philosophy.

11.  Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.

12.  Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation (genchi genbutsu).

13.  Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly  (nemawashi).

14.  Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen).

We can not just simply say that TPS can be used as it is (or with minor variations) to any organization.  We need to evaluate and learn the logic/concept behind these 14 principles and see how are these 14 principles relevant to my organization.   Many organizations claim to have similar principles in place, but how well are they implemented, or exists on piece of paper? What is behind these 14 principles and how Toyota does it? How does Toyota make sure that these principles become part of the work life?

Toyota did not develop TPS overnight or copied from somewhere else.  Toyota has learned a lot from Ford and North American car manufacturing over a long period of time and incoporated their own Toyota philosophy in TPS.

This is excellent read for anyone interested in management. 

Has anyone worked with TPS and how is the experience?

Have a good day!

Categories: Business, I.T., leader, Leadership, Management, Personal, Productivity, Workplace

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. In reading point 15..we’ve seen very few organizations that apply quality and process improvement to training or education. The idea of driving out waste, reducing cycle time or eliminating variability is foriegn to most training departments and educational institutions.

    Here’s a quick one about eliminating waste in training. You cut out anything that you teach that noone remembers the next day. If you want to see an interesting video on this point go to:

    If you’d like to see more on this subject, check out my book Learning Paths: Increase profits by reducing the time it takes to get employees up-to-speed (Pfeiffer2004) or my website

  2. Thanks Steve. I will check out your book. I read excellent reviews about it from various people on your website.

  3. I am using this as part of QA lessons, unfortunately over the years I have found that way too many companies use QA as method of advertising they are compliant to something or other, but now wholeheartedly believe this. The TPS system, for years even in my early career I used some of these 14 commandments unbeknown to me because I believe in empowering people. I have been vilified in Italy for giving “simple ordinary workers” power of decision. And this is a problem way a very good system in some management environment will never work. In Italy you have to change some people mind set before you go anywhere near using this system.
    Thank you for your attention.

    • Thanks Loris for your input and sharing your experience. I have also used these priciples based on need & situation and I am happy to say that I got very good results. I re-read these 14 points today and began to reflect how have I utilized them. Thanks again and keep doing great work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: