NOS Auto Blog

Toyota's Resilient Production System

Author: Abhijeet Pratap

Date: May 26, 2024

Resilient Production Management System at Toyota

Toyota is the global leader in the automobile industry in terms of production and sales. Among several other things, the company is known worldwide for its excellent engineering and production management. In 2023, Toyota sold a total of 11.2 million vehicle units and retained its top position as automobile producer. The company sold 2.3 million vehicle units in Japan in 2023 and 8.9 million units outside Japan.

An important factor behind the global success of Toyota Motors is its production management system based on lean and just in time production methods. The company has a highly resilient production system in place, which proved its resilience during the pandemic as the Toyota was better than its rivals in terms of facing the impact of the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Toyota’s production management system has become famous worldwide and studied widely. Its lean production system has also been adopted by other firms across various industry sectors.

The basic principle underlying the Toyota Production Management system is elimination of waste to discover more efficient production methods. It also makes the work easier for workers. The primary objective of TPS (Toyota Production System) is to eliminate waste thoroughly and shorten lead times to deliver vehicles to customers in the shortest possible time with highest quality. This production system is followed in all areas of Toyota company including vehicles and services and employees also follow Kaizen or the philosophy of continuous improvement.

In this post, we are going to discuss the leading rivals of Skoda Auto. The company is operating in an intensely competitive market environment and globally there are several competitors of Skoda in all the leading markets.

The Toyota Production System is based on two main pillars - Jidoka and Just in time. Jidoka is the first pillar of Toyota Production System which is loosely translated as automation with a human touch. Jidoka is based on concepts of stopping immediately as abnormalities are detected so that defective products are not manufactured and improving productivity so that the need for people to be simply watching over machines is eliminated.

The second pillar of TPS is Just In Time that involves synchronizing production processes (linking production plants and their production processes in a continuous flow) and manufacturing only what is needed, when needed and only in the necessary amount. TPS is based on these two pillars and they enable Toyota to produce cars which satisfy customer requirements quickly at low cost and with high quality.

Jidoka

In simplest terms Jidoka means automation with a human touch, meaning automation happens but not completely without human intervention. If an abnormality happens like a machine stops functioning, quality related abnormality or work delay, the machine can automatically detect the abnormality and stop or the operator can pull the stop cord and stop it.

This helps build quality into the processes and eliminates the production of defective products by clearly detecting abnormalities. Since machines can automatically stop when they detect an abnormality, it leads to reduced need for watching over the machines and lower labor requirements.

This helps build quality into the processes and eliminates the production of defective products by clearly detecting abnormalities. Since machines can automatically stop when they detect an abnormality, it leads to reduced need for watching over the machines and lower labor requirement.

However, Toyota does not directly use equipment or machines to do the work automatically.Instead, the same work is first done by humans and Kaizen is implemented to make continuous improvements, eliminate waste and inconsistencies as well as unusual requirements. There are three things to be eliminated which are known as muda, mura and muri in Japanese.

Lean Concepts

  • Waste: Muda
  • Inconsistencies: Mura
  • Unreasonable requirements: Muri

Once humans can do the work and detect the abnormalities they make it possible for anyone to do the work and then build it into the machines so that the machines can also automatically detect abnormalities. Through its efforts, Toyots has developed a production line that is high quality, low cost, flexible and easy to maintain.

However, the most important underlying thing that makes Jidoka work is the implementation of Kaizen and the implementation of Kaizen can be made possible only by humans since however perfect robots, machines or information technology become, they cannot evolve further on their own and have to be made better by humans. How does Toyota achieve craftsmanship - by discovering the basic principles of manufacturing through manual work and then applying those principles on the production line to steadily implement Kaizen. This is important in the context of both human skills and technologies to beat the challenge from emerging technologies and manufacturing methods. Continuous improvement and delivering superior cars to customers is not possible without human wisdom and ingenuity. Tpyota plans to remain steadfast in its commitment to developing its human resources in a manner that they can think effectively and implement Kaizen.

Toyota Production System

Just-In-Time

Just in Time or JIT is the second critical pillar of TPS. Every car is made up of more than 30000 parts which are not made by Toyota alone. Several of them are manufactured by its business and supply chain partners. These plants, including those of Toyota and its business partners, need to work in synchronization to ensure that cars are produced quickly, efficiently and without any waste.

All the plants adhere to the principles to Just in Time to achieve synchronized production. The three principles of JIT are as follows:

Only make what is needed, when it is needed and in the necessary amount only.

Don’t allow goods and information to be held up during production.

Manufacture cars at the pace at which they are sold.

Since all the parts cannot be made only after receiving an order, because that will unnecessarily lengthen the lead times by several months, the minimum number of required parts are stocked on the vehicle assembly line so that a car is built soon after the order is received.

The first process in the lone has the stock of finished products from which the next process can quickly pick up. The cycle continues and the preceding process is replenished in time before the next process has to pick up again. In this way, processes are engaged in a loop that helps achieve wasteless production. It is the continuous pursuit of Jidoka and Just in Time that has enabled Toyota to achieve a solid competitive advantage and strengthen its global leadership in the automobile sector.