Toyota by Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Toyota by Toyota

Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry, 1st Edition

By Samuel Obara, Darril Wilburn

Productivity Press

240 pages | 61 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-04-09
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Written by former Toyota associates, Toyota By Toyota: Reflections from the Inside Leaders on the Techniques That Revolutionized the Industry focuses on the purpose of Lean methodologies, techniques, and principles. It compiles more than a century of combined experience from management-level employees who supply little-known insights about the Toyota Production System (TPS)—featuring many who worked directly with Taiichi Ohno.

The book illustrates experiences at Toyota locations around the world, including the United States, Brazil, Venezuela, Europe, and Japan. Associates from various divisions, including sales, training, logistics, manufacturing, and human resources, provide diverse points of view regarding the application of the Lean principles discussed. In each chapter, TPS experts:

  • Share their story about when and how they learned the specific Lean technique, methodology, or concept
  • Describe the Lean technique, along with its benefits and pitfalls
  • Supply helpful implementation tips

A common thread that weaves these stories together is that each contributor had to learn their lessons the hard way. Although there is no magical, painless way to learn Lean, the authors hope that by sharing their experiences and struggles, you can avoid having to struggle through the same lessons. Readers will benefit from seeing the various approaches used to teach, as well as the unique way these authors translate that learning to the reader.


What is our Purpose? Addressed honestly, this hard question triggers the necessary reflection on shortcomings and weaknesses that are the fuel for improvement. It is a recurring theme in this volume. … Hansei, the Japanese word meaning humble and frank reflection, is another important concept in this book. Reflection, often glossed over, is fundamental to TPS and the PDCA cycle. This book records the reflections of several Toyota veterans—reflections on how they learned TPS and how they’ve applied the learning in companies around the world.

—Pascal Dennis, Shingo Prize-Winning Author and President of Lean Pathways Inc.

Table of Contents

Courage, Humility, Kaizen; Darril Wilburn

The Toyota Way 2001

Courage, Humility, Kaizen at the Heart

Teaching Others

Stability and Standardized Work; Gerson Valentim Damiani

Importance of Standard Work

Why Work Using Standards?

Operational Procedures, Work Instructions, and Work and Labor Procedures

How the Work Was Done at Toyota: Standard Work before Technology

How Standard Work Was Done at Toyota after the Introduction of Technology

Factory Layout

Objectives of the Layout

Human Factor

Problems in the Implementation of Standard Work

Where to Place Standard Work Instructions

Jidoka; Renato Eiji Kitazuka with Carlos Moretti


Jidoka as a Pillar of the Toyota Production System

So, What Is the Purpose of Using Jidoka?

Using Jidoka

Implementation Stages of Jidoka

It Was Too Early


Just-In-Time and Kanban; Carlos Fukamizu



Introduction of Jidoka and Just-In-Time as the Pillars of TPS


Just-In-Time Manufacturing

Just-In-Time (JIT)


Total Customer Satisfaction

More Evident Waste in the Manufacturing

Continuous Flow Process (One-Piece Flow) and Pull System

Lean Methodologies for Waste Elimination


Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)

Kanban as a Technique of JIT


Problem-Solving PDCA; Sammy Obara


Why Problem Solving Is So Important Along a Lean


What Is PDCA?

Do You Really Need a Method?

How and Where to Find Problems

The Mosquitoes Case

How Well Do You Understand the Problem?

Genchi Genbutsu: The Point of Cause

How Well Can You State the Problem?

How Well Do You Understand the Causes?

Doing Well What Does Not Need to Be Done

Project Management

Quick Note on Deadlines



A Higher Level of Recognition

Yokoten: Spreading the Learning Laterally

What Is Next?

Toyota Kaizen Methods; Art Smalley

Step 1: Discover Improvement Potential

Step 2: Analyze the Current Method

Step 3: Generate Original Ideas

Step 4: Make a Kaizen Plan

Step 5: Implement the Plan

Step 6: Verify the Results


Kaizen Culture: The Continuous Improvement Engine; Stephen J. Ansuini

The Key Elements of a Kaizen Culture

Visible Sponsorship and Support by Management

Leadership Support

Clear Purpose and Aligned Goals

Evolving Continuous Improvement System

Phase 1: Introduction – Participation Emphasis

Phase 2: Transition – Participant Development

Phase 3: Process Maturation


Elimination of Waste in Product Design; Patrick Muller

Value Engineering/Value Analysis

Waste in Process Design

Waste in Product Design

Toyota’s Purchasing Philosophy

Fair Competition Based on an Open-Door Policy

Mutual Prosperity Based on Mutual Trust

Abide by the Law

Toyota’s Purchasing Practices

Cost Breakdown

Target Costing, VE/VA, Kaizen

Value Engineering/Value Analysis


At Toyota, Suppliers Challenges


VE/VA and Marketing

Practical Example

Adapting Lean for Made-to-Order/High-Mix, Low-Volume Organizations; Greg Lane

OSKKK to Learn and Transform

Learning the Processes before Managing Them

Constraints Require More than Quick Fixes

Process Focused, Not Product Focused

Segregating Parts to Manage Differently

Managing in Real-Time Necessitates Other Lean Principles

Proportionally More Indirect Costs Necessitates

Lean Accounting



Lean Logistics; Robert Martichenko

Part 1: Purpose + People



Customer and 3PL Collaboration

People and Planning

Part 2: Process

Logistics Route Design

Pull Replenishment

Velocity and Understanding the Importance of Lead-Time Reduction

Driving Velocity

Manufacturing Plant Integration

Leveled Flow

Trailer Yard Layout and Visual Management

Quality at the Source and Discipline of Process

Lessons Learned and Conclusion

Leading a Kaizen Culture; Bob Plummer

A TPS Symphony

Discovering the Kaizen Culture

Creating and Sustaining the Kaizen Culture in American Factories

Implementing TPS Methods

Back to the Beginning

Leaving GM

Hoshin Kanri; Alistair Norval with Darril Wilburn

What Is Hoshin Kanri?

Why We Need a Strategic Planning System

What Does This Result In?

Countermeasure to Strategic Planning Problems

Hoshin Kanri Enables Organizations to Develop Strategic Plans That Are True North

Tree of Focused Activity

Plan, Do, Check, Act (PDCA)

Management Process


Key Thinker


The Power of Hoshin



About the Authors

Samuel Obara learned and implemented the Toyota Production System (TPS) while working at Toyota facilities for 13 years in Japan, Brazil, USA, and Venezuela. With close to 30 years of TPS experience by 2011, he had helped over 350 companies in diverse environments ranging from education and government agencies, to manufacturing companies and banks in a variety of countries, including China, The Philippines, Canada, Indonesia, Brazil, Japan, Austria, Africa, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. He is a faculty member with the Lean Enterprise Institute in the USA and Mexico. He is also a faculty member with San Diego State University’s Lean Enterprise curriculum. He has been a guest lecturer on Lean for post-graduate classes at Stanford University, MBA classes at University of Southern California, University of California, San Diego, and Lean Institute’s summits in Poland, Netherlands, Brazil, USA and Mexico.

Darril Wilburn led the development and implementation of some of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America's most important leadership development programs. He led the Toyota Way 2001 (Toyota core values and principles) implementation at Toyota's largest manufacturing plant in North America, and also worked with The Toyota Institute in Japan to develop the Toyota Business Practice (TBP), leading the global pilot of this program, as well as the North American Senior Executive sessions. While at Toyota, Darril studied the Toyota Production System as a student of OMDD, Toyota's internal Sensei group. He was also part of the team that launched Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, where he led the assimilation and training of new to Toyota management. As a Senior Associate at Honsha, Darril has had the opportunity to work with the public and private sector on projects that reflect the current global economic condition. Working with one of the largest mortgage banks in the USA, he and his Honsha team have implemented a redesign of the workflow to increase productivity and reduce cost and lead times, and is currently working with the State of Washington to develop a Lean culture that will help transform the way state government does business.

Contributing Authors:

Gerson Valentim Damiani

Renato Eiji Kitazuka

Carlos Yukio Fukamizu

Art Smalley

Stephen J. Ansuini

Patrick Muller

Greg Lane

Robert Martichenko

Bob Plummer

Alistair Norval

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control