Wednesday, 18 January 2006 13:41

Toyota Way, The, by Jeffery Liker PhD

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The Toyota Way

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Author: Jeffrey Liker, Ph.D.
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Released: January 2004
Pages: 350
ISBN: 0071392319

The Toyota Way provides the reader with a basic knowledge of the Toyota management principles that are commonly known as the "standard" for lean manufacturing. The book is broken into three sections—an introduction to the Toyota Production System (TPS), the fourteen principles of TPS and a discussion on implementing the principles. It contains a variety of examples of TPS in Toyota as well as in organizations other than automobile manufacturing.

The first section of the book, six chapters, provides the reader with a history of the Toyota system and a background for the presentation of the "Fourteen Management Principles" (the primary objective of the book). These chapters are a high-level discussion of how Liker has grouped the principles and shows application of them in Toyota.

Liker groups the principles into four broad categories, represented by a pyramid; the foundation being Philosophy, proceeding to Process, People/Partners, and, at the pinnacle, Problem Solving. He describes how many of the principles will result in counter-intuitive conclusions that the book plans to show improves operations.

In order to properly represent the philosophy, he presents the history of Toyota from its days as an automated loom manufacturer. He feels it is important to understand metamorphosis of the corporate culture and its philosophy as it gradually transformed into TPS; he reinforces this throughout the book.

The core of the book is on the fourteen principles. Each principle is discussed in a chapter and numerous examples are provides on how to use them. The examples are from a variety of environments (manufacturing, service and office) and are explained clearly.

The book concludes with a process and template for implementing the principles in an organization.

The book assumes no prior knowledge of lean principles and only basic knowledge of manufacturing. The examples are directly related to manufacturing and service industries. Although the book is not on project management, a majority of the concepts are applicable to projects.

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