Toyota Production System case study

Pär Forsell is a head of Toyota Lean Academy. Three years ago, the entire team at Toyota Lean Academy attended Leading the Toyota Way Masterclass led by Jeff Liker.


My Challenges: We’ve been on the lean transformation journey for quite some time and we’ve studied the TPS concept deeply with our Japanese Sensei. Toyota Production System is actually quite a technical system. It’s a set of methods applied on a process to make it more efficient. However, to implement it, it requires strong leadership and culture, which for us, in the western world, is something that we need to address. What we have in Swedish, and perhaps also Western culture, is the question why? Why should I do this? What is the purpose? We need to spend a lot of time introducing the purpose. We wanted to understand from an outsider’s point of view what does it take to achieve a true Lean culture and wanted to learn from Jeffrey Liker who has been researching Toyota for many years. 


How Gemba Helped: Even ourselves being from Toyota, we found Jeff’s outside-in perspective inspiring. He talked about the success rate of a Lean project, and that the initial enthusiasm for Lean always runs out with time. We were inspired by the insights on the internal voice wanting to go back to old ways of working after some time and that the trick to make it is to integrate the new ways of working into the process and the leadership routines so that you have something that can continuously ask for the waste.