The Evolution of the Toyota Production System

  • 4h 2m
  • Kazuo Wada
  • Springer
  • 2020

This book utilizes historical evidence to describe the development of the Toyota Production System (TPS). The development of TPS typifies the transformation of production control in interchangeable industries in the twentieth century. Much of the extensive literature available on TPS has been geared toward describing TPS from a number of different perspectives. Many researchers consider TPS distinct from American mass-production systems. Although TPS (and, more generally, the production control systems in the Japanese assembly industry) has differentiated itself from similar US production systems, the evolution of TPS is largely attributable to attempts to learn from, imitate, and modify pre-World War II US production methods. Through these efforts, TPS has achieved levels of efficiency in Japan comparable to those of US production systems. Additionally, a reliance on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in relation to production control has facilitated the development of TPS. The literature on TPS, however, has largely ignored the vital relationship between ICT and production control due to an inordinate focus on “Kanban.” Kanban translates to “signboard” in Japanese but is used to refer to an organic linkage between work in preceding and subsequent production processes. This book sheds light on the development of a fully digitalized Bill of Materials (BOM) at Toyota, behind its Kanban and production control.

About the Author

Kazuo Wada is a professor emeritus of The University of Tokyo. He also taught at Nanzan University and Tokaigakuen University. Prof. Wada obtained his Ph.D. in economic history at the University of London (London School of Economics) in 1989. He edited Fordism Transformed: The Development of Production Methods in the Automobile Industry (Oxford University Press, 1996) with Haruhito Shiomi. He also compiled and edited Corpus of Kiichiro Toyoda’s Documents (Nagoya University Press, 1999). He published Courage and Change: The Life of Kiichiro Toyoda (Toyota Motor Corporation, 2009) with Tsunehiko Yui. His research interests include international comparisons and long-term changes. His recent achievements include The Fable of Manufacturing: From Ford to Toyota (Nagoya University Press, 2009), Beyond Manufacturing: From Imitation to Building Toyota's Individuality (Nagoya University Press, 2013) and “Automobiles”, with Patrck Friedenson, in The Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business (2020).

In this Book

  • Introduction
  • Acceptance of the Ford Production System by Japanese Manufacturing Industries
  • The Foundation of the Japanese Automobile Manufacturing Industry—Attempts to Adopt Ford’s Production System
  • Establishing Flow Production at Toyota—Collecting the Data on Shop Floors and Its Use
  • Findings of Two Toyota Executives
  • The Emergence of Flow Production at Toyota
  • Quality and its Assurance
  • Computerization of the Management of Toyota as a Group
  • Conclusion