Chapter four discusses the enduring genealogy of the TPS by discussing once again its history and the principles behind the movement, autonomation (an emphasis on the people of the organization and how they interact with the machines they use and "just-in-time" the practice of productivity through the kanban system as well as by explaining the internal and external factors that surrounded the model. The chapter places Toyota in the global context analyzing how its own practices were regarded and spread through the industry and how Toyota responded to this with strength and character. The emphasis on quality is also stresses as a lead in to the next chapter.
Chapter five is a comparison of the TPS to the mass production (Ford) model of production. The chapter discusses the fact that quantity should not be the goal of production, but quality and this should be the focus at every stage of production and development. The Ford model gave the idea that problems could be repaired later, while TPS stresses that prevention of problems is much less costly than repairing them later. The chapter then briefly discusses the restructuring of Ford to this changing model of production. The final chapter closes with a lengthy discussion of the ability of TPS and the company to endure and continue to grow even in slow growth periods. The chapter closes with the idea of flexibility as the greatest strength of an individual and an organization.
The quality of the book is testified to by its endurance as a text of reference for company transitions on many levels. It is also very approachable, as it uses concepts that even a layman can relate to and analogies that are specific not just to manufacturing but to life in general and any business one might be interested in building or rebuilding. The mass production model may have been revolutionary, but where Toyota took it is significant and worth discovering through the eyes of the man who was at its center. The work offers insight about a shift in business consciousness, that clearly outlines one of the first attempts at corporate social responsibility, a novel idea in the world of business during Ohno's time.
Ohno's description of the idea that mass manufacturing was focused to extensively on quantity above quality is essential to the change that took place in the industry during his time and during his legacy. "Low prices are fine - but if they mean poor materials, poor quality, and eventually unusable products, nothing is achieved." (p. 86) the idea that the lowest price, and therefore the highest availability is not what auto makers or any manufacturer really should be seeking is demonstrated in the previous quote and in many other aspects of the TPS. Instead TPS created a system that focused on saving money, by reducing waste, of time and materials, creating a "just-in time" philosophy and emphasizing the human aspect of manufacturing (autonomation) as well as the humanity of machines, of all things created a system that was able to keep product cost lower (not the lowest) by saving somewhere other than quality of manufacture. In a sense the work describes a similar idea of quality as other texts and thinkers of the day but its emphasis on cost of production reduction as an responsibility of mangers, rather than on the responsibility of mass supplies and quantity purchasing and therefore lower cost is significant.
This work will help me in the future to better understand the general need to evaluate processes in communication as well as production. In the future I hope to reach the height of management and I hope to do so in a corporation with a heightened sense of corporate social responsibility, something that Toyota has proven effective. (Dosi, Nelson, & Winter, 2001, p. 45) Reading this work has helped me see what to look for, beyond the mission statements and pronouncements, such as what questions to ask in an interview and how these ideals are reflected in company product and image.
Dosi, G., Nelson, R.R., & Winter, S. (Eds.). (2001). The Nature and Dynamics of Organizational Capabilities. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Ohno, T. (1988). Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale…