Toyota Production System (TPS), originally called “Just-in-Time production”, was developed by Toyota to organize their manufacturing operations including logistics, supplier management, up to customer delivery. Its basic concept is the reduction of cost through elimination of waste and optimization of machine and human capabilities.
Prior to TPS, problems such as imbalanced inventory levels coupled with surplus equipment and workers were experienced by the automobile giant. Toyota decided to put its efforts in the development of a production system that can shorten the time between the initiation and completion of a production process, namely from the entry of materials to the completion of the vehicle. In this type of production, only the necessary products, at the necessary time, in necessary quantities are manufactured. This way the stock on-hand is held down to a minimum.
Equally important, Toyota has built up a system of respect for people ingrained in the TPS concept. It puts emphasis on the points as follows:
- Elimination of waste movements by workers
- Consideration for workers safety and
- Self-display of workers capabilities by entrusting them with greater responsibility and authority
Apart from the JIT concept, another essential feature of the TPS is Jidoka. The term Jidoka means to make the equipment or operation stop whenever an abnormal or defective condition arises. In short, its distinctive feature lies in the fact that when an equipment problem or machine defect happens, the equipment or entire line stops, and any line with workers can be stopped by them.
Just-in-Time and Jidoka are the main pillars of the Toyota Production System. The main objectives of the TPS are to design out overload and inconsistency and to eliminate waste. The most significant effects on process value delivery are achieved by designing a process capable of delivering the required results smoothly, by minimizing inconsistency. It is also crucial to ensure that the process is as flexible as necessary without stress or overburden since this generates waste (e.g. waste of overproduction, waste of transportation, waste of making defective products etc.).