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Managing Supply Chains

Coordination and Lean

Going back 20 years, the national bestseller The Machine that Changed the World: The Story of Lean Productionby Womack, Jones, and Roos devotes three chapters to supply chain coordination, dealing with customers, and managing the lean enterprise. The main ideas […]

The Practice of Learning

Learning requires optimism and the spirit to take up challenges. The Toyota Way document states that: “We accept the challenges with a creative spirit and the courage to realize our own dreams without losing drive or energy. We approach our […]

Learning Rate Implications

A classic problem studied by researchers from many fields is how firms allocate resources to the exploration of new possibilities versus the exploitation of known certainties. The returns of exploration are more long term, uncertain, and therefore risky. As March22 […]

Continuously Solving the Root Causes

How does continuous improvement take place in a supply chain? In our view, continuous improvement is learning and implementing the lessons learned; thus, much of what has been written about continuous improvement can be subsumed into the broader context of […]

Developing Your People and Partners

At a very broad level, Toyota believes that continuous improvement and respect for people are at the core of its philosophy. Careful reading of the Toyota Way guidelines reveals what is meant by respect: respect for customers, respect for society, […]

Applying the Above Process Design Principles

When inventories accumulate in a supply chain at different stages, they make demand less visible and the reaction to changes slower than if there were less inventory. (This topic is covered in detail in Beer Game and the Toyota Supply […]

Managing Variety Using Standardized Tasks

Most firms have realized the importance of standardizing tasks; however, the degree of standardization often stops at the tasks that directly relate to producing a product or, to a lesser extent, service. For example, how to machine a part is […]

Managing Visibility by Leveling the Workload

Heijunka—the leveling of the workload—serves many purposes. First, it is a prerequisite to having continuous flow and pull production. Second, at the supply chain level, it reduces artificial demand fluctuations, or the bullwhip effect. Third, it provides visibility into systematic […]

Managing Velocity Using Continuous Process Flow

By making the flow in the supply chain at the global level even and uniform to the most practical extent, the designers of the supply chain are able to detect systematic variations quickly. This detection is based on managing random […]

The Essential Ingredients of the Toyota Way

The ingredients of the Toyota Way are unique and effective. To sequence their description, this chapter’s layout follows Liker’s approach. Examples specific to how Toyota applies these principles to managing its supply chain are drawn from previous chapters in this […]

The Toyota Way of Managing Supply Chains

The Toyota Way is made up of four major elements: long-term philosophy, right process, development of people, and continuous solving of root problems. Taken together, they are the secret recipe for continuous improvement, for creating value, and for developing people […]