Toyota Production System (Human Infrastructure)

Human Infrastructure Key ElementsTOYOTA PRODUCTION SYSTEM (TPS) The TPS model depends on its Human Infrastructure. The entire model is base on its PEOPLE & TEAMWORK being successful in doing their job and there buy in to the Key Elements of the TPS culture, which are as follows;  Selection  Ringi decision making  Common Goals

 Cross-Trained TPS emphasize the point of its human infrastructure as a “COMMON GOAL” for all personnel in the corporation, which again is emphasize that its employees are its greatest assets as shown by the corporate slogan “GOOD THINKING, GOOD PRODUCT”.

The “SELECTION” or hiring process is a very aggressive beginning in bringing on employees to ensure that TPS gets the right people who can be a team player.

This was shown in the case study “……TMM initiated a hiring and training program (run out of a trailer office). It began with top managers and proceeded to core operations personnel;


these people primarily came from within the industry and formed the nucleus of TMM operations…… Next TMC sent Tsutsumi people to Georgetown, hundreds of them in all. These trainers-on-loan coached TMM Supervisory personnel one-on one and reinforced TPS Basic……These coordinators were charged to develop their counterparts only by persuasion—not to do things themselves. This intensely personal approach brought an eye opening moment to most TMM personnel”. TPS, in training its personnel use two guiding principle. Just In Time (JIT) and Jidoka (In station Quality).

These two principles are use by its employees to Identifying what is waste. JIT is simply produce only what was needed, only how much was needed, and only when it was needed. For JIT Production, these tools were used to keep information flow as close to the physical flow of parts as possible. Parts were pulled from downstream based on actual usage. Creating a flowing


production process which was a prerequisite for TPS. In Station Quality amplifies problem. It makes any production problem instantly self evident and stop producing whenever problems are detected. Notice that problem are not only caught were they occur with this flow process but actually because of the pulled or downstream approach that any station can find problems miss by an earlier team. This encompasses that the entire production line is responsible for each other work.

To further insure that the right part was available at the right time. TPS extended this process to its supplier by using another process step HEIJUNKA (Load Leveling). This process was simply, even distribution of special products or special orders. This prevented, as quoted in the case study “…several production runs…” each dedicated to just one model or one special order. TPS defined needs and value from the viewpoint of the next station down the line that is the immediate customer.

These two tools which will give the employee the ability to catch defects quickly and work to correct the problem. Shows TPS complete faith in the employee and the team to solve most problems without a supervisor. In fact TPS development of these two principles and Load Leveling exemplify the individual employee or the team ability to solve most if not all the problems in the production. These tools along with the team concept instill a level of trust between the employee and management as the individual or the team was task with solving any problem that was found at their station or anywhere on the line. As stated in the case study “…..A


typical discussion of a problem would start with “let’s go see it” and then converge the “Five Whys” exercise.

This exercise consisted of asking a chain of “why” questions until the root cause were identified and countermeasures determined.” Again this was either done by the individual team member or the team as a unit. If the team could not solve the problem then a supervisor or engineer or quality would come and assist the team in solving the problem. This faith in the human infrastructure of TPS brought about employees that not only look forward to coming to work as it was so challenging but brought about, as stated in the case study “…..

Methodical thinking extended beyond the solving of problems after the fact. It enabled people to seek kaizen: change for the better. At Toyota, as soon as anyone established a standard way of doing a job that person set out to demolish it proactively, to install an even better way.


Kaizen was indispensable in pursuing TPS goals continuously and indefinitely…..” The case study quoted the vision of the President of TMM and TPS, Fujio Cho. “….We fortunately have not seen any surprises so far. I believe in the universality of TPS and its ability to deliver high quality.

To develop TMM we put safety above all else and began with quality…”. Kaizen use an Incremental approach to continual improvement as our instructors has pointed out in several lectures. One Kaizen tool was a standardized work area which was marked off with colored tape. A Green line was use to show where the beginning of a new work station started. This is where the employee begin his work on a car. A Yellow line was place in the work station at a point where the employee needed to have complete 70% of its work. This was the point that if the employee had not done this much work 5


he or she could used another tool of the ANDON CORD. The ANDON CORD once pull by the employee turned on flashing light, triggered loud music and lit up the employees work station’s address number. Then a team leader would literally run to the work station and to find out what was the problem and assist with getting the employee caught up or fix a defect. If the problem was correctable.

The Team leader would pull the cord again and turn off the lights and music. However, if the problem was not correctable the team leader left the lights on he left the lights on and let the part reach the RED LINE marked. If the lights and music was still on when the part reach the RED LINE. The production line would stop. Here we have another example of how important the team and the individual employee were to Toyota.