GeneralHr Library

The Toyota Way

Authored by Dr. Jeffrey Liker, Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Michigan

Toyota Way is one of the most influential books on Lean and how Toyota was able to successfully drive inefficiencies from their processes.

The Toyota Way is a comprehensive expression of the company’s management philosophy, which is based on the two foundational principles of Continuous Improvement (kaizen) and Respect for People.

Toyota documented the company’s management philosophy in 2001 but has not made the document publicly available. Dr. Jeffrey Liker, a professor of industrial engineering at the University of Michigan, analyzed the philosophy and principles in his 2004 book, The Toyota Way. Liker characterizes the Toyota Way as “a system designed to provide the tools for people to continually improve their work.”

According to Liker, Toyota’s management philosophy can be broken into 14 guidelines categorized under four main principles:

What are the 14 principles of The Toyota Way?

Section I: Long-Term Philosophy

  • Principle 1. Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy,
  • even at the expense of short-term financial goals.

Section II: The Right Process Will Produce the Right Results

  • Principle 2. Create a continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface.
  • Principle 3. Use “pull” systems to avoid overproduction.
  • Principle 4. Level out the workload (heijunka). (Work like the tortoise, not
  • the hare.)
  • Principle 5. Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right
  • the first time.
  • Principle 6. Standardized tasks and processes are the foundation for continuous
  • improvement and employee empowerment.
  • Principle 7. Use visual control so no problems are hidden.
  • Principle 8. Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your
  • people and processes.

Section III: Add Value to the Organization by Developing

  • Your People
  •  Principle 9. Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the
  • philosophy, and teach it to others.
  • Principle 10. Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company’s
  • philosophy.
  • Principle 11. Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by
  • challenging them and helping them improve.

Section IV: Continuously Solving Root Problems Drives

  • Organizational Learning
  • Principle 12. Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation
  • (genchi genbutsu).
  • Principle 13. Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering
  • all options; implement decisions rapidly (nemawashi).
  • Principle 14. Become a learning organization through relentless reflection
  • (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen).


  • To know more in detail   Read-On-


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