Applying Kaizen to Toyota''s Business Processes (R)
The Toyota Production System (TPS) is known throughout the world. Toyota has extended TPS thinking to business processes in an attempt to extract optimum performance in terms of profitability, quality, and lead time. But other business processes do not necessarily satisfy the TPS prerequisites. Know-how, repeatability, cycle time, communication, and output can be quite different between the office and the factory floor. Business planning activities, such as capacity planning or product strategy, do not closely resemble manufacturing process. As a result, the definitions and methodologies of the TPS toolkit must be stretched and adapted to encompass many business processes. Christopher Couch, Toyota North America's Manager of Operations Strategy, describes the thinking and philosophy that Toyota brings to business process kaizen.
Keywords: Toyota, Toyota Production System, TPS, automotive, business process improvement, process flow, kaizen, jidouka, genba, genchi genbutsu, muda, five whys, Just-in-Time, metrics, decision support, production planning, resource planning, capacity planning