The production system of Toyota has been praised over decades as the major source of the Company’s outstanding performance as a leading manufacturer in the automobile industry. For instance, its distinctive practices such as quality circles as well as kanban cards are widely introduced in other areas of its operations. The most astonishing thing is that, despite, efforts of other key players in the industry to imitate Toyota, only a few have managed to do so successfully notwithstanding the extraordinary openness of Toyota in reference to its practices.
Masses of executives from various business entity throng Toyota’s plants based in the United States and Japan in quest of learning one or two things about Toyota’s success story. Other automobile companies in Japan have failed to measure up to the standards of Toyota, therefore, offering a lee way for the successful introduction of the Company’s production systems all over the globe. For example, in North America the Company is projecting the building of more than a million light trucks, mini-vans and cars. The difficulty that faces observers in decoding the Company’s system of production may possibly arise due to these observers inability to distinguish between the practices and tools seen on the plant with the actual system itself. Consequently, this makes the resolution of a clear inconsistency of the system impossible.
Therefore, production flows, connections and activities in a typical factory of the Company may be scripted rigidly, yet, at the same breadth, its operations being enormously adaptable and flexible. More often than not, the Company’s processes and activities are pushed to greater performance levels and challenged constantly. This enables the Company continual improvement and innovation. Therefore, Toyota’s success story is best understood upon unraveling of this paradox. Thus, this rigid specification must be viewed as the in thing towards the achievement of creativity and flexibility. Changes in the Company undergo a laborious process of problem solving requiring present state of affairs to be assessed in detail as well as the provision of an improvement plan whereby it becomes a test experiment for the proposed changes. This kind of environment acts as a stimulant to the managers and workers so as to engage in experimentations recognized widely as the cornerstone in an organizations learning process.
Apparently, this is what cuts a distinction between Toyota and the other automobile manufacturers. The Company’s system of production grew naturally as a result of its activities over the last five decades of its operations. In addition, no written down document exists even it is not in the articulation of its workers hence making it practically difficult for outsiders to understand its production system. The unspoken knowledge underlying the Company’s system of production revolves around four basic operative rules. These rules aid in the improvement, operation and design of a specific activity, pathway, and connection for each service and product.
Therefore, due to the implicit nature of the Company’s system of production, supervisors and workers are not told by their managers how to perform their duties. Instead, these managers use learning and teaching approach that creates an allowance for the employees understand the rules as a result of problem solving. For instance, a supervisor teaching an employee the first rule principles just goes to the work site and asks the person a number of questions as he/she carry’s on with their job. The continual of this process increasingly gives the employee a deeper insight in handling the specified duties. In conclusion, this approach of instilling capabilities in its workers and making them responsible for improving and doing their own jobs has greatly aided in cutting a big share of the automobile industry for the Company.