Current globalization of world economy creates new economic realities and intensifies competition. Increase in speed of technological advance, uncertainty caused by global economic crisis forces businesses to change quickly. Transformation enables them to be able to cope with the new economic, social and environmental challenges and / or gain competitive advantage by raising efficiency and improving performance. “Toyota is one of the industry's leaders when it comes to this sort of lean logistics – a strategy driven by the need to remove inventory, time, and costs from the automotive supply chain” (Coia, 2007, p.76).
1. Consider the following terms mentioned in the case: jidoka, just-in-time, heijunka, kanban, kaizen. What role does each of these concepts play in the Toyota Production System, and how do these concepts support/enable each other?
The Toyota Production System (TPS) is not only a technology of comprehensive production management, but a legendary sylphlike philosophical concept of lean production developed to improve productivity and quality (Kotani, 2007). Its basic idea is to maintain ceaseless flow of products agile to changes in demand. A continuous flow of production, or adapting to demand changes in quantities and variety, is created by achieving of several key concepts, being the pillars of the Toyota production system.
The Just-in-Time (JIT) principle basically means to produce the necessary units in the necessary quantities at the necessary time. It is vital for such system to work on a zero defect basis. Prerequisite of JIT delivery is hejunka principle, which ensures a leveled capacity and personnel utilization, excluding both peak loads and downtime due to thorough planning, continuous visual control and precise docking of successive processing operations. Kanban as a visual sign with instruction for production and conveyance is an instrument of JIT realization.
Jido, in Japanese, means automat or robot (Ji- self, -do- movement), -ka is something like –ation. However, Toyota replaced the second kanji character (it still sounds the same) with one which means work (which is derived from movement by adding human to it), and transformed the mere automation to smart/intelligent automation or automation with inseparable human part. For Toyota, this usually means that when a person identifies some abnormal situation or irregularity s/he stops the production line. This allows solving the issue on spot rather than pushing it down to be resolved later.
Kaizen is an umbrella principle of organizational performance improvement framing all the TPS pillars. It refers to a system of interrelated actions that lead to improvement of the quality of products, processes, technology, productivity, management systems, and even company’s culture.
2. The actual production time for a car at TMMK (Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Georgetown, Kentucky plant) is approximately 20 hours. If a typical car production line produces 250,000...