Quality. You probably know it when you see it. But do you know how to ensure it in the first place?

One answer to the question is Lean. And one of the foundations of Lean is the Toyota Production System, or TPS.

Often referred to as a blueprint for modern manufacturing, TPS actually dates back to 1902. Just in time and continuous improvement are only two of many well-known concepts that originated with TPS.

The overriding goal of TPS is to provide world-class products and processes with ensured quality — including an emphasis on reducing cost by eliminating waste, enhancing flexibility in production to meet market demand, respecting the contributions of employees and serving the needs of customers.

The 13 pillars of TPS, representing its core philosophies, are as follows:

  1. Removing imperfections (Konnyaku Stone)
  2. Mistake-proofing (Poka-Yoke)
  3. Self-reflection (Hansei)
  4. Signal (Andon)
  5. Automation with Human Intelligence (Jidoka)
  6. Just-In-Time
  7. Production Smoothing (Heijunka)
  8. Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)
  9. Go and See for Yourself (Genchi Genbutsu)
  10. Build Consensus (Nemawashi)
  11. Signboard (Kanban)
  12. Waste (Muda, Muri, Mura)
  13. Workplace (Genba)



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