The Toyota Production System (TPS) is an integrated socio-technical system, developed by Toyota, that comprises its management philosophy and practices. The TPS organizes manufacturing and logistics for the automobile manufacturer, including interaction with suppliers and customers. The system is a major precursor of the more generic methodology of Lean manufacturing. Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda, Japanese industrial engineers, developed the system between 1948 and 1975. Originally called Just-in-time production, it builds on the approach created by the founder of Toyota, Sakichi Toyoda, his son Kiichiro Toyoda, and the engineer Taiichi Ohno. The principles underlying the TPS are embodied in The Toyota Way, a set of principles that defines the organization’s philosophies.
The Toyota Production System, which is steeped in the philosophy of the complete elimination of all waste, embodies all aspects of production in pursuit of the most efficient methods, tracing back its roots to Sakichi Toyoda’s automatic loom. The TPS has evolved through many years of trial and error to improve efficiency.
Waste can manifest as excess inventory in some cases, extraneous processing steps in other cases, and defective products in yet other cases. All these waste elements intertwine with each other to create more waste, eventually impacting the management of the corporation itself.
By practicing the philosophies of daily improvements and “good thinking, good products” the methodology has evolved into a world-renowned production system. Furthermore, all Toyota production divisions are making improvements to the TPS day and night to ensure its continued evolution.
Check out this video on the history of TPS.