TOYOTA’S JIT REVOLUTION
“Toyota’s focus on JIT is a continual problem-solving process (not an inventory reduction plan)illustrates why the automaker is a JIT leader not only in its industry but all of industry.”
- www.academic.emporia.edu (1998).
A LEGENDARY PRODUCTION SYSTEM
In the mid-1990s, more than fifty executives and engineers from major automobile companiesworldwide visited Toyota Motor Company’s (Toyota)
manufacturing complex at Georgetown,US, to study the Toyota Production System (TPS). The visit also included an intensive questionand answer session. Even though the visitors were from competing automakers, including Fordand Chrysler, Toyota did not deny them access to the plant.The TPS aimed to produce world-class, quality automobiles at competitive prices. It was built ontwo main principles, Just-in-Time (JIT) production and Jidoka.
JIT was used not only inmanufacturing but also in product development, supplier relations and distribution. Analystsremarked that despite imitating Toyota’s JIT for many years, no other automaker in the world had been able to make their production systems and processes as efficient as Toyota had done.Analysts felt that though other leading automakers like Mercedes-Benz, Honda andDaimlerChrysler excelled in advanced engineering techniques, engine technology and styling, theydid not match Toyota in efficiency, productivity and quality. Executives of rival companies alsoappreciated Toyota’s manufacturing and product development systems. Officials at GMcommented, “Toyota is the benchmark in manufacturing and product development.” A topexecutive at Ford said, “Toyota is far ahead in developing markets that the real race is for thesecond place.” Some executives at BMW also considered Toyota the best car company in theworld.
Toyota was the world’s third largest automobile manufacturer in 2000, after General Motors and Ford.
A defect detection system that automatically/manually stops the production operation and/or equipmentwhenever an abnormal or defective condition occurs. Any necessary improvements are made by directingattention to the stopped equipment and the worker who stops the operation. The Jidoka system puts faithin the worker as a thinker and allows all workers the right to stop the line on which they are working.