Thursday, February 08, 2007

Book Club: "The Toyota Way" Chapter 11

As discussed in the previous post, we'll be doing things a little different with our book club. On the blog, I'm just going to do a very brief review of the chapter and enumerate some discussion topics. Here goes:

Summary: Chapter 11 of The Toyota Way discusses principle #5: build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time. This principle, also known as jidoka, is a key pillar of Lean along with one-piece flow. Flow surfaces problems, and jidoka focuses everybody's attention on solving them. The result is improved efficiency and quality. Here are a couple of discussion topics:

1) There is a huge difference between Toyota's philosophy of stopping the line and that of most manufacturers. Honestly discuss Toyota's philosophy that "no problems is a problem" in light of our own practices.

2) The principle of jidoka refers to the practice of building quality into machines (autonomation) and empowering humans to stop the line through the use of andons. Discuss how jidoka is or is not applicable to the manufactured housing industry.

3) Describe a typical andon system. Does it shut down the entire line? Does it require a technology investment? What is the purpose?

4) What does poka-yoke mean in English? What are some Toyota examples of poka-yoke?

5) Toyota posts standard work charts with visuals and detailed
notebooks with photos in the work area. Explain the role of standard work at

6) Describe Toyota's quality control system. What tools do they employ? Are they complicated? Who is responsible for quality?

7) Discuss how jidoka does or does not apply outside the factory.

8) Explain how one-piece flow and jidoka mutually reinforce each other.
If you have any questions about the discussion topics, or if you would like to add a topic, leave a comment.

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