How We Build
TMMC isn’t just one plant; our operations include three different plants — North, West and South. Each builds a different vehicle. What they all have in common is an approach to manufacturing known as the Toyota Production System or TPS, which has literally changed how automobile manufacturers around the world produce vehicles.
PUSH VERSUS PULL
In conventional batch production or “push production” systems, manufacturers produce goods and then try to find buyers for those products. TPS is a “pull” system, producing goods only as needed—in this case, building vehicles in response to customer orders. This reduces inventories, reduces costs, saves time, and streamlines effort.
Muda is a Japanese term that means “waste”. Eliminating muda is an essential part of the Toyota Production System. There are seven types of muda: overproduction, excess inventory, unnecessary conveyance, overprocessing, waiting, unnecessary movement, and defects. As muda is eliminated, what remains are actions and activities that add value to the process and the product and ultimately to the customer.
Central to TPS is Just-in-Time processing. Materials arrive as needed and in the exact quantity required at that point in time. As one process is finished then—and only then—is the product passed on. Each process has been designed to flow smoothly from one to the next. The sequence of each operation is also standardized so that quality and safety remain consistently at high levels. At the same time, the steady flow ensures that Team Members are always busy, but never overburdened.
Employees perform work as part of a Team on each line. Each Team Member is trained to perform multiple processes on their line. No defects can be passed along, only a quality job. Every process and every action has been designed to reduce the possibility of a mistake. But, if something does go wrong, every Team Member has the ability and responsibility to bring the line to a halt.
TESTING TESTING TESTING
Vehicles are subject to numerous checks and tests as they make their way down various production lines. Once completed, vehicles are selected at random and taken to an on-site test track. Here the cars are driven on a variety of surfaces that simulate different road conditions. If anything out of standard is detected, once again, the problem is traced to its source and rectified so that the issue never occurs again.
THE TOYOTA PRODUCTION SYSTEM
As important as what we build, is how we build it, using the Toyota Production System. TPS is a dynamic system, subject to continual change. TPS enables us to build in quality at every stage of manufacturing.
What really drives the system is people. Every Team Member is highly trained and empowered to halt production if something is not up to standard. Only when an issue is rectified does the line start again. Team Members are also encouraged to come forward with new ideas on how to make things better—after all, who understands a task better than the person who performs it? Empowering Team Members to make decisions concerning quality develops a tangible sense of pride that is visible in every end product.SEE ALSO Awards & Recognition