Every year I read "The Toyota Way" and every year I give the copy I just bought for someone else to read. Honestly, Jeffrey Liker owes me at least one drink. However, there is an aspect of the Toyota Production System (TPS) that I don’t think gets talked about often enough.
Japanese culture and Japanese history in relation to the Toyota Production System.
Specifically, What about the Toyota Production System is characteristically Japanese and what is uniquely Toyota?
Did this influence TPS?
In the book, Liker stresses that the “Toyota Way” is not a set of lean tools used by Toyota and instead, that it is a culture. I very much agree; however, he states that the “Toyota Way” is not the “Japanese Way” or the “American Way”. I can’t agree with that idea. Circumstantially and based on the contents of the book I think that’s untrue.
Toyota’s corporate culture is a subculture within Japan and would not exist without Japan itself. It’s like talking about the music of the Beatles without talking about Rock’n’Roll or talking about Apple without talking about Silicon Valley.
I would like to highlight how Toyota’s culture is integrally and profoundly impacted by Japanese anthropology and history through a series of posts on my blog. I will post updates every Tuesday starting September 26th 2017. The schedule will tentatively be as follows: