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Case study
Publication date: 1 January 2011

Low Sui Pheng and Gao Shang

Manufacturing, Western management theories and Japanese management practices.

Abstract

Subject area

Manufacturing, Western management theories and Japanese management practices.

Student level/applicability

This case can be used in project management or management-related courses at tertiary institutions at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level.

Case overview

This case provides students with an opportunity to find out what make Toyota so successful in manufacturing through its famous production system as well as the underlying Toyota Way principles. All students are expected to understand the Toyota Way model with a balanced view that goes beyond a set of lean tools such as just-in-time. This case opens a historical account for the Toyota Way model by connecting with possible Western management theories and Japanese management practices.

Expected learning outcomes

It is expected to significantly benefit students with industry experience with the intention of initiating appropriate changes in their own industry and/or organization by applying what they have learnt from the Toyota Way, through bridging with Western management theories.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes.

Details

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, vol. 1 no. 1
Type: Case Study
ISSN: 2045-0621

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2012

Phillip Marksberry

Toyota's management system, more formally known as the Toyota production system (TPS) is one of the most benchmarked business improvement strategies in modern industry…

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11263

Abstract

Purpose

Toyota's management system, more formally known as the Toyota production system (TPS) is one of the most benchmarked business improvement strategies in modern industry. While many companies try to emulate Toyota's success using a variety of different approaches, most practitioners are not aware how Toyota replicates TPS at suppliers. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the in‐house capabilities that are transferred from Toyota to suppliers as a way to more deeply understand how TPS can evolve.

Design/methodology/approach

This work studies Toyota's supplier development practices by evaluating organizational documents using latent semantic analysis (LSA). LSA is a theory and method for extracting and representing the contextual‐usage and meaning of words and phrases by statistical computation applied to text. LSA is based on singular value decomposition (SVD), which is a mathematical matrix decomposition technique using factor analysis.

Findings

This work shows that Toyota targets processes, rather than whole systems, in assisting suppliers to be more effective at abnormality management. Findings also show that Toyota's approval process doesn't necessarily support major kaizen at suppliers yet does encourage minor day‐to‐day kaizen. Finally, this work reports that the Toyota Way for suppliers does not have to be adopted by suppliers, but does represent “A Way” to interact with suppliers to drive both culture and productivity simultaneously.

Originality/value

The paper uses a new method for analyzing Toyota's supplier development practices by mathematically representing and analyzing Toyota's organizational documents. This new method allows various components and features of Toyota's supplier development process to be represented and described in a way that offers many unique insights.

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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2020

Nicholas Loyd, Gregory Harris, Sampson Gholston and David Berkowitz

Few companies have had the success that Toyota Motor Corporation has experienced over the past 70 years. Many give credit for Toyota's success to the company's famous…

Abstract

Purpose

Few companies have had the success that Toyota Motor Corporation has experienced over the past 70 years. Many give credit for Toyota's success to the company's famous Toyota Production System. Companies outside of Toyota have tried to implement versions of Toyota's system as Lean production; however, few companies have experienced the success of Toyota, and none have experienced Toyota's sustained success. In 2001, Toyota released a publication entitled The Toyota Way 2001 as a set of globalized standards of the culture that drives the success of the Toyota Production System.

Design/methodology/approach

This research examines the effect of the Toyota Way on the implementation of Lean production outside of Toyota. A survey was developed and a study was performed on a sample of 349 participants with Lean experience. Structural equation modeling was used to test the relationship between the Toyota Way culture, Lean production, and achieving the desired Lean production system results.

Findings

The results of this research discovered that the existence of the Toyota Way culture has a significant and positive mediating effect on a Lean production system achieving the desired Lean results.

Originality/value

This research created a validated survey instrument that can be used to evaluate and understand the status of a Lean implementation initiative based upon employee perception. The results of this study support assertions made by Lean practitioners and previous research stating that culture affects the level of success of Lean production system implementation. While this may not seem like breaking news, prior to this study no statistically validated research supporting such an assertion could be found. Furthermore, this research defines culture very specifically as the Toyota Way culture as outlined in The Toyota Way 2001.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2011

Phillip Marksberry

The purpose of this paper is to quantify Toyota's managerial values known as the Toyota Way to understand the cultural aspects of the Toyota production system (TPS).

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4325

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to quantify Toyota's managerial values known as the Toyota Way to understand the cultural aspects of the Toyota production system (TPS).

Design/methodology/approach

The research methodology in this paper utilizes latent semantic analysis and singular value decomposition to analyze corporate memory documents to determine from organizational view how TPS is prescribed ideally to achieve Toyota's culture.

Findings

This work shows that the Toyota Way heavily centers on the principle of Genchi Genbutsu which is the practice of seeing problems first hand. Findings also show that Toyota's widely popularized Kaizen philosophy is de‐emphasized compared to team work and respect for people. Toyota's culture is somewhat balanced between individualism and collectivism which disagrees with most national Asian cultures. Finally, results show that Toyota reinforces both long‐ and short‐term orientations which disagree with most national views of Japan's national culture.

Research limitations/implications

Future work using latent semantic analysis should include a broader spectrum of literature on which to perform the analysis. This analysis is limited to developing theories about Toyota's culture but does not actually describe the culture that exist in the workplace.

Practical implications

This work provides a broad guideline with which to structure a lean culture. It provides the reader with knowledge of what parts of a corporate culture to deem the most significant. Improving upon each of these company values with the weighted significance elicited in this document could provide a positive impact within an organization.

Originality/value

The methodology used in this paper is a brand new, fledgling technique that could provide significant improvements in studying lean cultures. The concepts of this technique will be useful to researchers in this field and the results will be of value to management who wish to create a more efficient organization.

Details

International Journal of Lean Six Sigma, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-4166

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Article
Publication date: 30 May 2018

Andrea Chiarini, Claudio Baccarani and Vittorio Mascherpa

The purpose of this paper is to compare principles from the original Toyota Production System (TPS), the Toyota Way 2001 and Kaizen philosophy with principles derived from…

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7372

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare principles from the original Toyota Production System (TPS), the Toyota Way 2001 and Kaizen philosophy with principles derived from Japanese Zen Buddhism. The paper would also like to enlarge the debate concerning some lessons learnt from Japanese culture in order to avoid Lean implementation failures.

Design/methodology/approach

The original English version of Taiichi Ohno’s book dedicated to the TPS, the Toyota Way 2001 and other relevant papers regarding Kaizen were reviewed and analyzed. The principles that emerged from the review of this literature were then compared with similar philosophical principles from Japanese Soto Zen Buddhism. The literature concerning Zen philosophy was methodically analyzed and categorized using the content analysis.

Findings

The results of this research show many theoretical parallelisms as well as lessons for practitioners, in particular referring to principles such as Jidoka, just-in-time, waste identification and elimination, challenge, Kaizen, Genchi Genbutsu, respect for people and teamwork.

Research limitations/implications

Analysis and results are mainly based on the literature that was found, reviewed and categorized, along with the knowledge of authors on Zen philosophy. Results could differ depending on the literature reviewed and categorized.

Practical implications

The results of this research bring food for thought to practitioners in terms of lessons learnt from Japanese culture, Toyota principles and management style in order to avoid Lean implementation failures.

Originality/value

This is one of the first papers which compares Lean-TPS and Kaizen principles with the Zen philosophy to try to learn lessons for succeeding in Lean implementation.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 20 December 2017

Nobuyuki Chikudate and Can M. Alpaslan

Using as many perspectives as possible to understand large-scale industrial crises can be a daunting task. This paper aims to demonstrate a reasonably complex yet…

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2027

Abstract

Purpose

Using as many perspectives as possible to understand large-scale industrial crises can be a daunting task. This paper aims to demonstrate a reasonably complex yet systemic, analytical and critical approach to analyzing what causes crises.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a multi-perspective methodology within which each perspective uses a substantially different ontology and epistemology, offering a deeper understanding of the causes of large-scale crises. The methodology utilizes extant theory and findings, archival data from English and Japanese sources, including narratives of focal people such as Toyota President Akio Toyoda.

Findings

The analysis suggests that what caused Toyota’s crisis was not just Toyota’s failure to solve its technical problems. It was Toyota’s collective myopia, interactively complex new technologies and misunderstanding of corporate citizenship.

Practical implications

The authors argue that crises are complex situations best understood from multiple perspectives and that easily observable aspects of crises are often not the most significant causes of crises. In most cases, causes of crises are hidden and taken-for-granted assumptions of managers. Thus, managers must view crises critically from multiple yet distinct viewpoints.

Originality/value

The authors use Alpaslan and Mitroff’s multi-disciplinary methodology to outline several critical perspectives on Toyota’s messy recall crisis.

Details

critical perspectives on international business, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1742-2043

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Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Anthony P. Andrews, John Simon, Feng Tian and Jun Zhao

This paper aims to provide an in‐depth analysis of the economic, operational and strategic aspects of the Toyota recall crisis, as well as its implications for the global…

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10683

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide an in‐depth analysis of the economic, operational and strategic aspects of the Toyota recall crisis, as well as its implications for the global auto industry and its competitive dynamics in the future.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provided a literature review (of both academic literature, company reports, and popular press).

Findings

Toyota's recent efforts to become the top selling automaker in the global market place might have led to some unfavorable changes in its supply chain management practices, as well as tarnishing some of the core values of the “Toyota Way”, which were partially responsible for the massive recall. Toyota's handling of the recall also reflected the unique “Japanese way” of managing crisis.

Originality/value

The paper provides a timely analysis of a corporate crisis that is still unfolding. The multi‐disciplinary perspectives used in this analysis provide unique insights to understand a complex corporate phenomenon.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 34 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 July 2010

Phillip Marksberry, Fazleena Badurdeen, Bob Gregory and Ken Kreafle

The purpose of this paper is to analyze Toyota's management directed kaizen activities named Jishuken. Currently, there are many variations in understanding how Toyota

Downloads
7155

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze Toyota's management directed kaizen activities named Jishuken. Currently, there are many variations in understanding how Toyota develops its managers to support daily kaizen, especially when Toyota managers have different levels of understanding of Toyota production system (TPS) and skills essential in applying TPS.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper will study Toyota's Jishuken process in the context of strengthening TPS and analyze both the technical and management aspects of Toyota's Jishuken process.

Findings

When integrated into plant‐wide long‐term continuous improvement, Jishukens can be extremely effective at developing management's ability to conduct and to teach others to conduct daily kaizen and problem solving. This paper shows how Jishukens function within the TPS system to continuously improve managers' understanding of TPS both for their own concrete problem solving and to support manager's roles in communicating, coaching and teaching problem solving to production workers.

Originality/value

Most attempts to imitate Toyota fail because techniques are adopted piecemeal with little understanding of why they exist or what kind of organizational culture is needed to keep them alive. Jishuken serves as an example of a technique which is successful only when embedded within the right organizational culture.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 August 2018

Helio Aisenberg Ferenhof, Andre Henrique Da Cunha, Andrei Bonamigo and Fernando Antônio Forcellini

This paper aims to resolve the inhibitors of lean service using knowledge management (KM) concepts through the use of Toyota Kata. To achieve this, the authors updated the…

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657

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to resolve the inhibitors of lean service using knowledge management (KM) concepts through the use of Toyota Kata. To achieve this, the authors updated the research on lean supportive practices and inhibitors of lean technical practices presented by Hadid and Afshin Mansouri (2014) through a systematic literature review (SLR). The SLR focused on empirical studies/cases from the past 15 years and confirmed the inhibitors of lean technical practices. As a result, Toyota Kata is proposed as a KM solution to the inhibitors of lean service implementation in service companies.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors carried out an SLR to identify inhibitors of lean service in real case applications and analyzed the resulting bibliographic portfolio using KM as a lens, along with three theories: universal theory, socio-technical systems theory and contingency theory, which assist in highlighting and clarifying the potential impact of using Toyota Kata as a solution to the inhibitors of lean technical practices.

Findings

When the authors analyzed the inhibitors of lean technical practices, they discovered that there is a strong relationship between the inhibitors and the individual (staff) personal characteristics regarding commitment, involvement, communication and preparation. These inhibitors and characteristics should work as a system, and Toyota Kata improves people’s skills and process performance by connecting people, processes and technology. Also, the authors noted that the Toyota Kata concept used can provide benefits in the implementation of lean service for companies, such as the internalization of continuous improvement, this becoming part of the company culture. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that Toyota Kata provides an effective way to achieve KM.

Research limitations/implications

This study may not have enabled a complete coverage of all existing peer-reviewed articles in the field of practices and inhibitors presented by Hadid and Afshin Mansouri (2014). However, it seems reasonable to assume that in this review, a large proportion of the studies available was included.

Practical implications

This paper opens a new perspective on the use of Toyota Kata by managers as a solution to implement KM, spinning the spiral of knowledge.

Originality/value

This is the first study that seeks empirical evidence of inhibitors of lean technical practices and proposes Toyota Kata as a KM Solution for these issues. As a result, this study advances the facility to overcome these inhibitors, opening a new perspective for management to lead in achieving operational excellence.

Details

VINE Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems, vol. 48 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5891

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2017

Wayne Gordon Macpherson and James C. Lockhart

For the past three decades, the dominant economic policy environment across the Anglosphere has assumed that industrial performance results from increasing national…

Abstract

Purpose

For the past three decades, the dominant economic policy environment across the Anglosphere has assumed that industrial performance results from increasing national competitiveness. The US Government and others have extensively used the tools of deregulation that emerged from the influential frameworks of Michael Porter and the Chicago School. That both the contributing analysis and attendant policy environment largely neglected the very source of national disadvantage, mostly Japanese industry in the 1970s and 1980s, remains surprising. What was going on in Japan at the time, and to some extent continues today, remains largely hidden. The aim of this paper is to expose one source of Japan’s influential competitive advantage – the human resource.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper, through the translation of a Japanese-language paper by Professor Emeritus Masaki Saruta, introduces the Japanese phenomenon of managed education in Aichi Prefecture, home of the Toyota Motor Corporation, and provides insight into the lifestyles of the Japanese workers who live and work in corporate castle towns that feed Toyota. Inductive content analysis was used to identify four themes that can be identified as the strategies used to produce a homogenous pool of labor that sustains the Toyota Way philosophy and Toyota Production System.

Findings

The content analysis identified four major themes: Toyota’s abnormal level of influence over local government, a unique education system of education management, a closed labor market and the homogeneity of labor. It is only now that business leaders in the Anglosphere are able to comprehend the vastness and depth of inculcation and nurturing policies of Toyota and other Japanese industrial giants – something business leaders in the Anglosphere today can only dream. It now becomes evident that Chandler’s visible hand remains alive and well, but critical drivers of its success in Japan and Toyota were largely invisible to the West.

Research limitations/implications

The research required the knowledge of one of Saruta’s works that is only published in Japanese, and therefore, inaccessible to researchers in the Anglosphere. The translation process and development of themes is reported in detail. The findings are then located in the broad context of national competitive advantage.

Practical implications

With the insight presented in this paper, business and government leaders may now be empowered to implement policies and practices to nurture a pool of labor more conducive with the organizational strategic policy. While leaders in the Anglosphere are able to implement policy, there also remains a new threat to economic sovereignty – the nurturing of human resources in the dormitories, refectories and shopping malls of industrial China.

Social implications

The development of a company-focused workforce to support corporate castle towns, one of the sources of national advantage, has been identified in this paper. The social implications are twofold. First, in Japan, the nature and influence of these towns are accepted and heralded by the community. Second, outside of Japan, and especially across the Anglosphere, these towns are a major source of competitive advantage.

Originality/value

Through the translation of original research published in the Japanese-language medium, this research provides otherwise inaccessible insight into the inner workings and effectively the “black box” of what was Japan Inc. in an era when business people in the West were playing catchup. As the debate on globalization extends to sovereignty across the Anglosphere, it is beholden on the academic community to provide effective solutions for industrial competitiveness.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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