Toyota Way is a set of principles and behaviors that underlie the
Toyota Motor Corporation's managerial approach and production system.
Toyota first summed up its philosophy, values and manufacturing ideals
in 2001, calling it "The
Toyota Way 2001". It consists of principles
in two key areas: continuous improvement, and respect for
1 Overview of the principles
2 The 14 Principles
2.1 Section I — Long-Term Philosophy
2.2 Section II — The Right Process Will Produce the Right Results
2.3 Section III — Add Value to the Organization by Developing Your
2.4 Section IV — Continuously Solving Root Problems Drives
3 Research findings
3.1 Long-term philosophy
3.2 Right process will produce right results
3.3 Value to organization by developing people
3.4 Solving root problems drives organizational learning
4 Translating the principles
6 See also
8 Further reading
Overview of the principles
Toyota Way has been called "a system designed to provide the tools
for people to continually improve their work" The 14 principles of
Toyota Way are organized in four sections:
The Right Process Will Produce the Right Results
Add Value to the Organization by Developing Your People
Continuously Solving Root Problems Drives Organizational Learning
The two focal points of the principles are continuous improvement and
respect for people. The principles for a continuous improvement
include establishing a long-term vision, working on challenges,
continual innovation, and going to the source of the issue or problem.
The principles relating to respect for people include ways of building
respect and teamwork.
The 14 Principles
The system can be summarized in 14 principles. The principles are
set out and briefly described below:
Section I — Long-Term Philosophy
Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the
expense of short-term financial goals.
People need purpose to find motivation and establish goals.
Section II — The Right Process Will Produce the Right Results
Create a continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface.
Work processes are redesigned to eliminate waste (muda) through the
process of continuous improvement — kaizen. The seven types of muda
Waiting (time on hand)
Unnecessary transport or conveyance
Overprocessing or incorrect processing
Use "pull" systems to avoid overproduction.
A method where a process signals its predecessor that more material is
needed. The pull system produces only the required material after the
subsequent operation signals a need for it. This process is necessary
to reduce overproduction.
Level out the workload (heijunka). (Work like the tortoise, not the
This helps achieve the goal of minimizing waste (muda), not
overburdening people or the equipment (muri), and not creating uneven
production levels (mura).
Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the
Quality takes precedence (Jidoka). Any employee in the Toyota
Production System has the authority to stop the process to signal a
Standardized tasks and processes are the foundation for continuous
improvement and employee empowerment.
Toyota has a bureaucratic system, the way that it is
implemented allows for continuous improvement (kaizen) from the people
affected by that system. It empowers the employee to aid in the growth
and improvement of the company.
Use visual control so no problems are hidden.
Included in this principle is the 5S Program - steps that are used to
make all work spaces efficient and productive, help people share work
stations, reduce time looking for needed tools and improve the work
Sort: Sort out unneeded items
Straighten: Have a place for everything
Shine: Keep the area clean
Standardize: Create rules and standard operating procedures
Sustain: Maintain the system and continue to improve it
Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your
people and processes.
Technology is pulled by manufacturing, not pushed to manufacturing.
Section III — Add Value to the Organization by Developing Your
Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy,
and teach it to others.
Without constant attention, the principles will fade. The principles
have to be ingrained, it must be the way one thinks. Employees must be
educated and trained: they have to maintain a learning organization.
Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company's
Teams should consist of 4-5 people and numerous management tiers.
Success is based on the team, not the individual.
Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging
them and helping them improve.
Toyota treats suppliers much like they treat their employees,
challenging them to do better and helping them to achieve it. Toyota
provides cross functional teams to help suppliers discover and fix
problems so that they can become a stronger, better supplier.
Section IV — Continuously Solving Root Problems Drives
Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation (Genchi
Toyota managers are expected to "go-and-see" operations. Without
experiencing the situation firsthand, managers will not have an
understanding of how it can be improved. Furthermore, managers use
Tadashi Yamashima's (President,
Toyota Technical Center (TTC)) ten
management principles as a guideline:
Always keep the final target in mind.
Clearly assign tasks to yourself and others.
Think and speak on verified, proven information and data.
Take full advantage of the wisdom and experiences of others to send,
gather or discuss information.
Share information with others in a timely fashion.
Always report, inform and consult in a timely manner.
Analyze and understand shortcomings in your capabilities in a
Relentlessly strive to conduct kaizen activities.
Think "outside the box," or beyond common sense and standard rules.
Always be mindful of protecting your safety and health.
Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all
options; implement decisions rapidly (nemawashi).
The following are decision parameters:
Find what is really going on (go-and-see) to test
Determine the underlying cause
Consider a broad range of alternatives
Build consensus on the resolution
Use efficient communication tools
Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei)
and continuous improvement (kaizen).
The process of becoming a learning organization involves criticizing
every aspect of what one does. The general problem solving technique
to determine the root cause of a problem includes:
Initial problem perception
Clarify the problem
Locate area/point of cause
Investigate root cause (5 whys)
In 2004, Dr. Jeffrey Liker, a
University of Michigan
University of Michigan professor of
industrial engineering, published The
Toyota Way. In his book Liker
Toyota Way "a system designed to provide the tools for
people to continually improve their work." According to Liker, the
14 principles of The
Toyota Way are organized in four sections: (1)
long-term philosophy, (2) the right process will produce the right
results, (3) add value to the organization by developing your people,
and (4) continuously solving root problems drives organizational
The first principle involves managing with a long-view rather than for
short-term gain. It reflects a belief that people need purpose to find
motivation and establish goals.
Right process will produce right results
The next seven principles are focused on process with an eye towards
quality outcome. Following these principles, work processes are
redesigned to eliminate waste (muda) through the process of continuous
improvement — kaizen. The seven types of muda are (1)
overproduction; (2) waiting, time on hand; (3) unnecessary transport
or conveyance; (4) overprocessing or incorrect processing; (5) excess
inventory; (6) motion; and (7) defects.
The principles in this section empower employees in spite of the
bureaucratic processes of Toyota, as any employee in the Toyota
Production System has the authority to stop production to signal a
quality issue, emphasizing that quality takes precedence (Jidoka). The
Toyota bureaucratic system is implemented to allow for
continuous improvement (kaizen) from the people affected by that
system so that any employee may aid in the growth and improvement of
Recognition of the value of employees is also part of the principle of
measured production rate (heijunka), as a level workload helps avoid
overburdening people and equipment (muri), but this is also intended
to minimize waste (muda) and avoid uneven production levels (mura).
These principles are also designed to ensure that only essential
materials are employed (to avoid overproduction), that the work
environment is maintained efficiently (the 5S Program) to help people
share work stations and to reduce time looking for needed tools, and
that the technology used is reliable and thoroughly tested.
Value to organization by developing people
Human development is the focus of principles 9 through 11. Principle 9
emphasizes the need to ensure that leaders embrace and promote the
corporate philosophy. This reflects, according to Liker, a belief that
the principles have to be ingrained in employees to survive. The 10th
principle emphasizes the need of individuals and work teams to embrace
the company's philosophy, with teams of 4-5 people who are judged in
success by their team achievements, rather than their individual
efforts. Principle 11 looks to business partners, who are treated by
Toyota much like they treat their employees.
Toyota challenges them to
do better and helps them to achieve it, providing cross functional
teams to help suppliers discover and fix problems so that they can
become a stronger, better supplier.
Solving root problems drives organizational learning
The final principles embrace a philosophy of problem solving that
emphasizes thorough understanding, consensus-based solutions swiftly
implemented and continual reflection (hansei) and improvement
(kaizen). The 12th principle (Genchi Genbutsu) sets out the
expectation that managers will personally evaluate operations so that
they have a firsthand understanding of situations and problems.
Principle 13 encourages thorough consideration of possible solutions
through a consensus process, with rapid implementation of decisions
once reached (nemawashi). The final principle requires that
a "learning organization", continually reflecting on its practices and
striving for improvement. According to Liker, the process of becoming
a learning organization involves criticizing every aspect of what one
Translating the principles
There is a question of uptake of the principles now that
production operations in many different countries around the world. As
a New York Times article notes, while the corporate culture may have
been easily disseminated by word of mouth when
was only in Japan, with worldwide production, many different cultures
must be taken into account. Concepts such as "mutual ownership of
problems", or "genchi genbutsu", (solving problems at the source
instead of behind desks), and the "kaizen mind", (an unending sense of
crisis behind the company’s constant drive to improve), may be
unfamiliar to North Americans and people of other cultures. A recent
increase in vehicle recalls may be due, in part, to "a failure by
Toyota to spread its obsession for craftsmanship among its growing
ranks of overseas factory workers and managers."
Toyota is attempting
to address these needs by establishing training institutes in the
United States and in Thailand.
Toyota Way has been driven so deeply into the psyche of employees at
all levels that it has morphed from a strategy into an important
element of the company's culture. According to Masaki Saruta,
author of several books on Toyota, "the real
Toyota Way is a culture
of control." The
Toyota Way rewards intense company loyalty that
at the same time invariably reduces the voice of those who challenge
Toyota Way of constructive criticism to reach
a better way of doing things 'is not always received in good spirit at
Toyota Way management approach at the automaker
"worked until it didn't."
One consequence was when
Toyota was given reports of sudden
acceleration in its vehicles and the company faced a potential recall
situation. There were questions if Toyota's crisis was caused by the
company losing sight of its own principles. The
Toyota Way in this
case did not address the problem and provide direction on what the
automaker would be doing, but managers instead protected the company
and issued flat-out denials and placed the blame at others. The
consequence of the automaker's actions led to the 2009–11 Toyota
vehicle recalls. Although one of the
Toyota Way principles is to
"build a culture of stopping to fix problems to get quality right the
first time," Akio Toyoda, President and CEO, stated during
Congressional hearings that the reason for the problems was that his
"company grew too fast."
Toyota management had determined its goal
was to become the world's largest automotive manufacturer.
According to some management consultants, when the pursuit of growth
took priority, the automaker "lost sight of the key values that gave
it its reputation in the first place."
The India Way
The India Way - a modern management book, after the
Kanban: a workflow management system also pioneered at Toyota
Karoshi death from overwork
Toyota vehicle recalls
^ "Environmental & Social Report 2003" (PDF).
p. 80. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
Toyota Motor Corporation Annual Report, 2003, page 19. "The Toyota
Way, which has been passed down since the Companyʼs founding, is a
unique set of values and manufacturing ideals. Clearly, our operations
are going to become more and more globalized. With this in mind, we
compiled a booklet, The
Toyota Way 2001, in order to transcend the
diverse languages and cultures of our employees and to communicate our
philosophy to them." (Mr. Fujio Cho, President,
^ "Sustainability Report 2009" (PDF).
Toyota Motor. p. 54.
Retrieved 26 March 2012.
^ a b Liker, Jeffrey (2004). "The 14 Principles of the
Toyota Way: An
Executive Summary of the
Culture Behind TPS" (PDF). University of
Michigan. p. 36. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
^ Liker, Jeffrey K. (2004). The
Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles
from the World's Greatest Manufacturer. McGraw-Hill.
^ Fackler, Martin (February 15, 2007). "The '
Toyota Way' Is Translated
for a New Generation of Foreign Managers". The New York Times.
Retrieved 26 March 2012.
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the unseen force that transforms performance. FT Press. p. 130.
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^ Glionna, John M. (24 March 2010). "Toyota's rigid culture criticized
in light of recalls - Automaker's
Toyota Way handbook dictates details
of employees' lives, even in their off time". Chicago Tribune.
Retrieved 29 January 2014.
^ Hino, Satoshi (2006). Inside the mind of Toyota : management
principles for enduring growth. Productivity Press. p. 65.
Retrieved 29 January 2014.
^ "Relations with Employees".
Toyota Motors. Retrieved 29 January
Toyota Code of Conduct" (PDF).
Toyota Motor Europe. October 2006.
Retrieved 29 January 2014.
^ Stanford, Naomi (2013). Corporate culture: getting it right. Wiley.
p. 130. ISBN 9781118163276. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
^ Tseng, Nin-Hai (10 March 2010). "Can the
Toyota Way survive Toyota's
ways?". CNN Money. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
^ Ordonez, Edward (1 December 2010). "When the
Toyota Way Went Wrong".
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^ "Hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:
Toyota gas pedals: is the public at risk". U.S. Government Printing
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Toyota Way' was lost on road to
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^ Choudhury, Uttara (10 April 2010). "Jugaad enters management
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Toyota Way Fieldbook: A
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