The production system of Toyota otherwise known as Toyota Management Systems (TMS) gives its adopters the ability to double their production in half the time, half the expense with half the problems and inventory in a fraction. TMS is no comparison to 'just' a production system. It is a three-innovation-combination model comprising of the policy of deployment (hoshin kanri), total quality management, and production just in time. Toyota did not establish these three innovations. The innovations command a powerful advantage in competition after the oil crisis that took place in 1973-74. Forty years later, the Japanese automaker is the leading in the United States while its competitors are still struggling to achieve the same. This has been possible because of the TQM systems it adopted.
By emphasizing on quality first and customer first corporate philosophy from the time of its establishment, Toyota scooped the prize for Deming Application in the year 1965 and the award for Japan Quality Control in the year 1970. This occurred after the establishment of Statistical Quality Control in 1949. It has performed Total Quality Management based on solid customer first principle and total participation. Additionally, from the time of the Creative Idea Suggestion System launch in 1951, suggestions have increased in number and the system has been established stable responses for the changes of interact with conscientious manufacturing (monozukuri) contributing considerably to the development of the company. As a result, the elementary concepts of problem solving, TQM, and continuous improvement through the spread of creative innovation became a core component of the company. This accounted for higher production quality levels after its adoption (Hino, 2006).
Toyota invented the Just-In-Time (JIT) philosophy after the Second World War. This was mainly based on the design of continuous manufacturing flow, which was a creation by Ford Henry in 1914. The production system of Ford was mainly focused on a grand scale mass production. Toyota adopted the system and emphasized on the need of eliminating the waste materials. Small portions of production motions needed by postwar market in Japan were small and fragmented. Toyota converted the long lines of production into cells of U-shape, cross trained workers to operate many machines and reduced times of changeover. This resulted in the slashing of time wasted and necessitated the work-in-process inventory. Toyota developed the popular signal cards (Kanban) system to complement their just-in-time cells. They functioned to link production cells, which were not integrated or co-located physically. The signal cards are also used for integrating the functions of suppliers and customers with almost similar needs of production (Bose, 2011).
Quality at the source
Toyota merged various quality checks into its production cells and operations. They got the inspiration from the ingenuity of Toyota managers and the Six Sigma that Japan imported after the war by the United States government. This made problem discovery and correction to be faster:
Successful checks: These checks mandate all individuals contributing to a process to evaluate the quality.
a) Previously performed work by others
b) Tools, materials or the equipment used in the process
Self-checks: these checks declare that all persons contributing to a process to evaluate their own work's quality.
Mistake proofing (Poka Yoke): This is critical for the significant conditions and steps in the processes that might be impractical or difficult for human inspection. Besides, this principle allows owners of the process to invent procedures and devices with quick display and ability to resolve problems to the management's satisfaction (Keen, 2007).
Hoshin kanri (policy deployment)
The policy of deployment also known as Hoshin Kanri is a management system in Japan that has been perfectly implemented by the decentralized decision-making management of Toyota. The policy of deployment is deeply rooted in the management by objectives of Drucker that were adapted by Japan in the context of TQM implementation. Toyota adopted the policy of deployment as a constituent of its TQM implementation during the early 1960s. The policy of deployment has various benefits although it is still not well-known to the western managers. The benefits include:
i. It allows for alignment of the organization by the management on significant targets for improvement that connect the current potential to performances in the future and customer satisfaction.
ii. It allows the company to have an exception in its management so that the focus of the company can mainly be towards strategy.
iii. It debates and substitutes the relatively slow methods of accounting management with capabilities of solving quality, delivery, and cost problems in close deadline.
iv. Allows for problem solving, execution and planning in a cross-functional manner, which means that those who choose to adopt deployment policy can effectively resolve problems associated with modern day production.
v. It allows for cost management that is inter-organizational through the provision of a framework to the customers, suppliers, and producers to draft a plan and implement them in a coordinated manner.
Evaluating the current reality of Toyota is a preliminary step in the TQM implementation process. The deliberate requirements have a connection with the history of the organization, the existing employee working life quality, hastening events leading to TQM and the existing needs. If the existing realm is not inclusive of significant preconditions, the implementation of TQM should be postponed to the time when the company stabilizes to a position of overseeing the success of TQM.
Toyota has a good record of responding effectively to the environment. In case he could change the mode of operations successfully in time when needed, implementation of TQM will be easy. When the company has a record for reaction and lacking skills for enhancing its systems of operation, the employees will not have faith with lack of skilled change agents. If the condition persists, a comprehensive leadership development and management program is adopted. Management audit is considered as a good tool of evaluating and identifying the existing levels of the functioning within the company and the fields that require change. A company should be stable and healthy before the implementation of TQM. TQM may be inappropriate in case the organization has poor employee morale, lacks managerial skills, unstable administrative systems and weak funding base (Taylor, & Brunt, 2009).
Bench marketing and quality control
In order to the overcome the prevailing competitive challenges existing in the international diverse market, TMC developed a diverse and international strategic response. Many aspects of this phenomenon exist although only two of them prove are significant. One of them includes the use of IT to develop the lean design and lean production strategy of Toyota in order to advance into a strategy of smart design and production. The other aspect is developing and designing smart vehicles. By so doing, they will be living to the vision of Mr. Okuda focused on international automobile industry's future evolution. In his vision, he described the three watersheds in the automobile industry's history following the changed rules. A new business design changed the industry's ground rules every time. Moreover, the new designs seemed invincible. It also introduced a new form of changing situations and a new business design. The old business model was going down for four major reasons.
First, the company had to decentralize the activities of R&D and manufacturing. The second one was that the paradigms of process and products that were established by Henry Ford are falling down themselves. The third one was that IT was transforming the internal working of the automobiles. The fourth one was that the paradigm of changing product and the increasing function of information technology would create room for the industry to allow an array of competitors. One factor of this view bears TMC mode of production. Besides, this affects both the competitiveness and product design, which is part of the development of Toyota as the lowest cost producer globally. This also affects the products and services set to be sold by TMC in the future.
This may be contradictory because of the effects it had on the profits and prices that Toyota gained from the rapid Japan economic growth in the late 1980s. Large numbers of Japanese automobiles made additions to their capacity. The capacity expanded during the Bubble era and went into automated plants. Such plants were high and proved to be inefficient economically because of the high capital and maintenance cost coupled with excessive downtime arising from the complex process of production. Conversely, Toyota in the course of testing the use of sophisticated offline automation evaded a large devotion to this method. It maintained its existing basic philosophy of simplicity and the use of its abilities and the human element as quoted in the manual of the company in the first phase of the prior section (Hino, 2006).
From Fujimoto's explanation, in the adoption of automation technologies, the style factories of Toyota appear to adopt a conservative direction in terms of the economy and technology. For instance, the plants tend to declare only robots of low cost whose investment cost unit can be…