Toyota Production System (TPS)

The Toyota Production System (TPS) is an integrated manufacturing philosophy and management system developed by the Toyota Motor Corporation. It is renowned for its lean principles, Efficiency, and focus on continuous improvement. TPS revolutionized manufacturing processes and became the foundation for modern lean manufacturing practices, influencing industries worldwide.

Key Principles of Toyota Production System

  1. Just-in-Time (JIT) Production: JIT is a central pillar of TPS, where production is based on actual customer demand. Raw materials and components are delivered exactly when needed, minimizing inventory and waste.
  2. Jidoka (Autonomation): Jidoka refers to building machines and processes that stop automatically when a problem occurs, preventing defective products from being produced.
  3. Kaizen (Continuous Improvement): TPS emphasizes a culture of continuous improvement, encouraging all employees to identify and implement small, incremental improvements in processes and systems.
  4. Heijunka (Production Leveling): Heijunka ensures a smooth and consistent production flow by leveling the production schedule, allowing flexibility to accommodate changes in demand.
  5. Poka-yoke (Error Proofing): Poka-yoke devices or mechanisms are implemented to prevent errors and defects in the production process, ensuring high-quality output.
  6. Kanban System: The Kanban system uses visual signals (Kanban cards) to control the flow of materials and production processes, ensuring the right materials are available at the right time.

TPS Practices

  1. Pull System: The production process is driven by customer demand, pulling materials and resources as needed rather than pushing products into the process.
  2. Single-Minute Exchange of Die (SMED): SMED is a technique used to minimize changeover or setup times in production, enabling more frequent and efficient production runs.
  3. Andon: Andon boards or signals are used to visually display the status of the production line, alerting operators to any abnormalities or issues that need attention.

Benefits of Toyota Production System

  1. Efficiency: TPS aims to eliminate waste, improve processes, and enhance productivity, leading to significant efficiency gains.
  2. Quality Improvement: With its focus on error-proofing and continuous improvement, TPS leads to higher product quality and fewer defects.
  3. Flexibility: TPS allows for greater flexibility in responding to changes in customer demand and market conditions.

Challenges of Toyota Production System

  1. Cultural Adoption: Implementing TPS requires a cultural shift within the organization to embrace continuous improvement and employee empowerment.
  2. Resource and Time Investment: Adopting TPS may require significant investments in training, reorganization, and process changes.


The Toyota Production System (TPS) is a pioneering manufacturing philosophy that emphasizes Efficiency, continuous improvement, and customer focus. With its core principles of Just-in-Time (JIT) production, Jidoka, and Kaizen, TPS revolutionized the automotive industry and became a model for lean manufacturing practices across various sectors. By embracing TPS principles and practices, companies can achieve greater Efficiency, improved quality, and a culture of continuous improvement, enabling them to stay competitive and adapt to changing market conditions.


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