Analysis and application of the Toyota Production System in American manufacturing
The focus of this research is to explore the management practices characteristic of lean organizations with an emphasis on manufacturing applications. The history surrounding the development of the Toyota Production System (TPS) and kaizen culture, of which contemporary lean methodologies bear their foundation, will be examined through the insights of the manufacturing system’s principal originator, Taiichi Ohno. The fundamental management techniques underlying lean philosophies, including but not limited to just-in-time production (JIT), the identification and elimination of waste, or muda, in operational processes, and the role of the gemba in managerial decision making will be investigated to ascertain how organizations adopting a kaizen strategy can realize the remunerations of higher quality, lower cost, and minimized delivery schedules in their respective production systems (Imai, 2012). Case studies related to the implementation of lean methodologies at American, automotive manufacturing organizations will be studied to provide a quantitative analysis of the operational impacts of lean systems as well as the challenges faced by such firms in aligning organizational cultures to the kaizen mentality (Hartwell & Roth, 2010). In an effort to develop synergies between literary research and practical application, a twelve-week lean workout managed by the author for a Michigan-based, CNC manufacturing firm will be debriefed to serve as a praxis of the aforementioned themes; core areas of focus will include the challenges faced by the organization related to its existing operational condition, the value stream analysis of its production system, the objectives of the kaizen team, and the implementation plan of the team’s recommendations for improvement.
Toyota Production System, Kaizen, Continuous improvement, Lean manufacturing, Gemba, NUMMI, Fitzpatrick Manufacturing Company, Pawley, Dennis, Value stream