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  • After the Allied victory of World War II, the Japanese industrialists studied American production methods with particular attention to Ford practices and the Statistical Quality Control practices of Ishikawa, Edwards Deming, and Joseph Juran.

  • At Toyota Motor Company (1949 and 1975), Taichii Ohno and Shigeo Shingo established a new approach called Toyota Production System (TPS)  or Just In Time JIT

  • TPS incorporated Takt Time ideas to Ford ideas of Continuous Flow and added the critical dimension of Flexibility  to make high Quality products at the lowest Cost in wide Variety in Small Batches with very Short Lead Time

  • Ohno & Shigeo  learned of the American Supermarket System and how a version was being implemented at Lockheed. The supermarket concept was to place out a small quantity of all the products your customer might want and replenish those items as they are used—a Pull system.

  • Shingo, at Ohno's suggestion, went to work on the Setup and Changeover problem. Reducing setups to minutes and seconds (SMED Single Minute exchange of Dies) allowed small batches and an almost continuous flow like the original Ford concept.

  • By the 1980's some American manufacturers who tried these principles, such as Omark Industries, General Electric and Kawasaki (Lincoln, Nebraska) were achieving success. 

  • Consultants took up the campaign and acronyms sprouted like weeds: World Class Manufacturing (WCM), Stockless Production, Continuous Flow Manufacturing (CFM)

  • Lean Manufacturing is the term that was introduced by James Womack (co-author of the seminal book: "The Machine That Changed the World") to describe the philosophy and practices under-pining the Toyota Production System (TPS)

  • In their research into world class manufacturing Womack et al, recognized that TPS was a vastly superior system of manufacturing than that found in most western automotive manufacturers.

  • Fundamentally TPS was challenging the foundations of mass production, by creating systems and an operating culture that enabled the company to manufacture a considerable variety of products, with high levels of efficiency and quality.