At Toyota, an hourly paid employee who leads a team of five to eight other employees. Called hancho in Japanese.
Within the Toyota Production System, team leaders act as the front-line support for employees, who - unlike their counterparts at traditional mass producers - are the focus of improvement activities and have responsibilities in the areas of troubleshooting, quality assurance and basic preventive maintenance.
Team leaders do not take disciplinary action and do not have fixed production duties. They are familiar with all the tasks their team members perform, so they can relieve employees, fill in in case of absenteeism or step in when employees need assistance or are behind schedule. They deal with problems such as line stops and andon signals and take the lead on kaizen activities. They also conduct daily checks using audit sheets for standardized work to make sure people are following standardized work guidelines and to surface problems.