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Going beyond Triviality: The Toyota Production System—Lean Manufacturing beyond Muda and Kaizen

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DOI: 10.4236/jssm.2016.92018    3,892 Downloads   6,753 Views Citations


Personal consulting experience has been showing that even many proven managers responsible for Lean Six Sigma Operational Excellence (OPEX) techniques have not fully understood the profound and comprehensive significance of Lean. Apart from the idealized interpretation of Lean boiled down to the limited concepts of Muda and Kaizen, the classical “temple” representation of the Toyota Production System (TPS) often leads to the interpretation that Lean is a toolbox from which one can select supposedly independent tools. By picking just some tools, however, the full potential of the TPS certainly cannot be exploited and—in the worst case—it may even cause production disruption. This essay criticizes the wide-spread ultra-simplification of concepts and, as a consequence, the distorted interpretation leads to an inappropriate use of the Lean tools. It presents two additional representations of the classical TPS temple model stressing the intrinsic systemic effects as well as the underlying theory concepts of the TPS to allow a flawless Just-in-Time (JIT) production. In fact, the original TPS is not a toolbox, but a comprehensive synergic tool system.

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Rüttimann, B. and Stöckli, M. (2016) Going beyond Triviality: The Toyota Production System—Lean Manufacturing beyond Muda and Kaizen. Journal of Service Science and Management, 9, 140-149. doi: 10.4236/jssm.2016.92018.

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