Use Visual Control

Mar 22nd, 2009

In today’s world of computers, information technology, and automation, one of the goals is to make the office and factory paperless. You can now use computers, the Internet, and the corporate intranet to call up large storehouses of data, both written and visual, at lightning speed and share it via various software and e-mail. As […]

Mar 21st, 2009

When I interviewed David Baxter, vice president at the Toyota Technical Center, he was a bit nervous about a report he was working on. It was the proposed budget for the entire center. The whole time he talked about the report, I was envisioning a large article-like document. Suddenly it dawned on me that he […]

Mar 20th, 2009

I have spent a lot of time at the Toyota Technical Center in Michigan, where they engineer vehicles like Camry and Avalon. For much of this time, Kunihiko (“Mike”) Masaki was the president there. Masaki had worked in many different engineering and manufacturing organizations during his career at Toyota, all using excellent visual controls, so […]

Mar 19th, 2009

Automakers in the U.S., as well as Japan, are required by law to keep service parts for vehicles for at least 10 years after they stop making the vehicles. This adds up to having millions of different parts available. Toyota’s goal is to have them available just in time, as its manufacturing philosophy preaches. Hebron, […]

Mar 18th, 2009

Visual control is any communication device used in the work environment that tells us at a glance how work should be done and whether it is deviating from the standard. It helps employees who want to do a good job see immediately how they are doing. It might show where items belong, how many items […]

Mar 17th, 2009

When Americans were making pilgrimages to Japanese plants in the 1970s and ’80s, the first reaction was invariably “The factories were so clean you could eat off of the floor.” For the Japanese this was simply a matter of pride. Why would you want to live in a pigpen? But their efforts go beyond making […]

Mar 16th, 2009

Mr. Ohno was passionate about TPS. He said you must clean up everything so you can see problems. He would complain if he could not look and see and tell if there is a problem. —Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation If you walked into most manufacturing plants outside Japan in the 1980s, you would […]