Kanban for Toyota Production System

The Toyota Production System (TPS) is often referred to as creating lean manufacturing alongside several other companies like Bell System and General Motors Corporation. The initial principles were created by its founder Sakichi Toyoda in Japan during 1938. Even though this system was initially developed in Japan, it has spread worldwide and has become one of the largest influences on modern production systems. Nowadays, along with TPS, Kanban has also started playing an essential role in helping organizations manage their production processes. In fact, many businesses nowadays are realizing the many benefits of using Kanban for Toyota production system implementation.

The Vision & Philosophy of TPS

Toyota’s vision is “to be the best automaker in the world.” A large part of this vision comes from their philosophy, which can accurately be described as an ideal towards perfection or the philosophy of continuous improvement. They have a very competitive drive to continuously improve their processes, products, services, and the company in general. The production they put out is efficient and effective for customers while at the same time being cost-efficient for themselves.

Toyota’s philosophy states that to be the best in their field, they need to constantly improve themselves with the help of new processes and methods. Many people say that one of Toyota’s most significant weaknesses is that they change so often. It can make it difficult for employees to familiarize themselves with the changes, having large-scale impacts. But what some people fail to realize is that this way of thinking is a fallacy. They have been practicing this for years, and it has proven to be very effective in helping them reach their goals.

Toyota always has one eye towards the future. Every day they ask themselves, “how can we do better?” This approach drives them to find new ways to achieve their goals in all aspects of their operation. That’s why they are always improving something, no matter how trivial it might seem at first glance.

What is the Kanban Toyota system?

Toyota has created the “Toyota Production System” to make automobiles more efficient. This method aims to eliminate any waste to supply vehicles to consumers as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Another aspect of the TPS is that the required components are produced and delivered in sufficient quantities at appropriate times. To make this possible, Kanban cards are used as part of using Kanban for Toyota Production System. A Kanban card shows how many pieces are utilized and pinned to the parts box. Whenever the parts box component is used, the Kanban card is removed.

The benefit of utilizing Kanban for Toyota Production System is only to produce what the customer needs. To accomplish this, Toyota uses the Kanban ideology to limit production at certain levels that flow into sales. As soon as sales pick up, they increase their output in small increments until they reach a level where sales begin to slow down again and start pulling back on the amount of product being created.

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Benefits of Kanban for Toyota Production System

Some of the benefits of Kanban for Toyota Production System are as follows:

1. Cut down the cost of processing information

Kanban provides real-time control of all processes, suppliers, changes, and modifications. It stays on top of inventory levels to know how many parts are being used.

When one part reaches zero, you can no longer use it until more parts are added to your inventory. It creates an efficient way of keeping track of the products within your company while making sure not to overstock any excess supplies.

2. Reduce overhead expenses

With the use of Kanban for Toyota Production System, less inventory is held at any given time. It can help reduce an organization’s overhead expenses because there is less product sitting around gathering dust. It decreases warehousing costs and other associated fees with holding onto too much stock for too long.

3. Bring down transporting supplies cost

The system requires constant communication between all parties involved in the production process. There must always be a steady stream of information flowing back and forth to keep everyone on task. By limiting the amount of inventory they carry, Toyota also reduces transporting goods from place to place.

4. Support lean transformation

Kanban allows management to make quick changes to production schedules without worrying about overstocking or running out of parts. It creates an environment where efficiency is highly valued, which allows them to use their resources more efficiently than ever before.

This type of lean transformation has allowed Toyota to produce high-quality products at lower prices than other car manufacturers, which is why many businesses around the globe look to them as an example of how lean manufacturing can succeed.

5. Enhance facts acquisition

Kanban cards allow real-time control of all processes and suppliers as well as changes and modifications to TPS. It gives management a way to see problems before they happen so that they can fix them quickly.

Lean manufacturing is a set of practices that companies use to reduce costs while raising productivity. The final product will have higher quality while being offered at a lower price by reducing wasted time, effort, and materials.


Q: What is the Kanban inventory system?

Kanban is a lean inventory scheduling system that uses cards to let you know how many parts are needed for your specific machine or equipment to work properly.

Q: What information is on the Kanban card?

Kanban cards have several different pieces of information on them. They are separated into three separate categories that convey the following details:

  1. What needs to be produced.
  2. When it should be done.
  3. Where it is going to go.

Q: Is Kanban lean or Agile?

Kanban is a lean manufacturing process applied to several Agile and lean values as a Scrum subset. It focuses on the flow, visuals, and limiting work that is in progress.

Q: What are Toyota rules for effective Kanban application?

The 6 Toyota rules for the application of Kanban for Toyota Production System are as follows:

  1. Take only what is required.
  2. Produce the required product quality.
  3. Never pass the damaged products.
  4. Level the production.
  5. Fine-tune the production.
  6. Rationalize and stabilize the process.

Looking to Streamline Your Inventory Processes?

If you are, then you’re at the right place. Kanban Zone is fully capable of providing Kanban solutions to different businesses. We will help you develop the model that works for your organization. Check out our Kanban board templates and make a difference in your work style. Start reaping the benefits of using Kanban for Toyota Product System implementation today.

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About the Author: Kanban Zone

Kanban Zone
This is a post from the Kanban Zone community. These posts cover various topics related to the Kanban methodology, project and tasks management, Lean, Agile, as well as content relevant to other practitioners from the Kanban community.