Production system developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation to achieve the best quality, lowest cost and shortest lead time by eliminating waste. The TPS consists of two pillars, Just-in-Time and Jidoka, and is often illustrated using a house (see illustration). The TPS is maintained and improved through iterations of standardized work and kaizen and follows PDCA, or the scientific method.
The development of the TPS is attributed to Taiichi Ohno, the head of Production at Toyota in the post-World War II period. Ohno started in machining operations and from there introduced the rest of Toyota to the TPS in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1960s and 1970s, he also introduced the system to Toyota's suppliers. Outside Japan, its spread began in earnest after the creation of the joint venture between Toyota and General Motors - NUMMI - in California in 1984.
The concepts of Just-in-Time (JIT) and Jidoka both predate the war. Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of the Toyota Group, invented the concept of Jidoka in the early 20th century by incorporating a system into his automatic looms that ensured that a loom stopped as soon as
a wire broke. This made significant quality improvements possible and freed up employees' hands to do more value-creating work than just watch machines. Eventually, this simple concept found its way into every machine, every production line and every Toyota operation.
Below is the home of the Toyota Production System:
Kiichiro Toyoda, Sakichi's son and the founder of the Toyota car business, developed the Just-in-Time concept in the 1930s. He decided that there should be no excess inventory at Toyota and that Toyota should strive to level production in cooperation with its suppliers. Under Ohno's leadership, JIT developed into a unique system of material and information flows to combat overproduction.
The TPS gained worldwide recognition as the model production system after the publication of the book The Machine that Changed the World (1990), the result of five years of research led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The MIT researchers discovered that the TPS was so much more effective and efficient than traditional mass production that it represented a completely new paradigm. They introduced the term Lean manufacturing to describe this radically different approach to production.