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The Toyota Way

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The Toyota Way

14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer


15 min read
6 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

If you want your manufacturing process to flow smoothly and efficiently, do it the Toyota Way.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Background
  • Concrete Examples


This book is like a Toyota vehicle: not necessarily fancy, but extraordinarily capable of getting you from point “A” to point “B.” Jeffrey K. Liker’s thorough insight into the continual improvement method known as “The Toyota Way” reflects his experience with the Toyota Production System (TPS) and his knowledge of its philosophies and its technical applications. Toyota’s success as the world’s most profitable automaker is no accident and now, thanks to this book, it’s no mystery, either. Liker drills down to the principles and behaviors of the Toyota Way. His straightforward book, which reflects years of studying Toyota’s philosophy, will be of service to anyone striving to improve operational efficiency.


The key concept in Toyota’s production method is kaizen, a continual drive to improve.

Kaizen – the secret to Toyota’s world-class quality and excellence – defines Toyota’s way of life and its approach to business. Kaizen is not just a set of tools; it’s the commitment to strive for improvement continuously. The value of this goal is obvious, but few firms even come close. Continual improvement requires continuous learning in an environment that embraces change. Toyota’s second great principle is respect for its people. The combination of kaizen and respect equals “The Toyota Way” a powerful strategic weapon.

Today, Toyota is an international corporate giant, the world’s third-largest auto manufacturer, after General Motors and Ford. Each year, it sells more than six million vehicles. But its excellence doesn’t stop there. In fact, Toyota is much more successful than any other automobile manufacturer in terms of profit. Toyota earned a profit of $8.13 billion by the close of its fiscal year in March 2003. For perspective, this is more than the combined earnings of GM, Chrysler and Ford. Toyota is far more profitable than its competition. Industry analysts generally...

About the Author

Jeffrey K. Liker is cofounder and director of the Japan Technology Management Program at the University of Michigan, where he is also a professor of industrial and operations engineering. He has won four Shingo Prizes for excellence, and has written extensively on Toyota in various management journals. Dr. Liker is also a principal of Optiprise, a lean enterprise/supply chain management consulting firm.

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