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Toyota Production System or Lean: Are They the Same?

There is direct correlation between the Toyota Production System (TPS) and Lean Six Sigma. First of all, they both have the goal of getting rid of waste, as well as getting rid of anything that doesn’t add value to the product or service. Both TPS and LSS use some of the same exact tools.

The Tools and Methodologies Used by Both TPS and Lean

5S: This is a system to organize the workplace and then maintain it. This system originated from the Toyota Production System.

  • Sort (Seiri): Only keep what is needed and discard the rest.
  • Straighten (Seiton): Make sure everything needed for work as its own place.
  • Shine (Seiso): Make sure everything is clean free of dirt, dust and contaminates so that problems can be easily noted and taken care of.
  • Standardize (Seiketsu): Create a process of standards; make things visible so that it is easy to identify what are normal conditions and what isn’t.
  • Sustain (Shitsuke) implement protocols for maintaining established desired standards.

Kaizen: This Japanese philosophy focuses on the mindset of continuous small improvements over the long haul.

Kanban: A method (could be a board) for managing the actual process of a product or service.

P.D.C.A: Plan-Do-Check-Act  — this is used for implementing improvements

  • Plan: Create the plan and expected results
  • Do: Carry out the plan
  • Check: Confirm the results you achieved
  • Act: Review estimated expected results and repeat again

Poke-Yoke: Mistake proofing, when you design the product with the mindset of avoiding specific errors in the actual design.

Root Cause Analysis (RCA): Conducting RCA will ensure that the issue won’t happen again. One great tool for RCA is the 5 Whys.

5 Whys: Keep asking why to the previous answer until a satisfactory answer is achieved.

As you can see, the same tried and true methods still work today. The tools or methods need not be complicated to achieve great results. Want to learn more about these Six Sigma tools and methodologies? For more information on our Six Sigma training courses or services, please visit 6sigma.com.

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