Toyota Production System Terminology

Material Handling Best Practices, Tips, Information and More from Toyota

The Toyota Production System (TPS) has established a global reputation as the leading business philosophy to deliver measurable benefits in efficiency and quality within the manufacturing process. Below are 14 common terms used in TPS and as well what they mean:

  1. Andon Board – The medium for workers to signal problems to supervisors for immediate remedy, stopping the production process if necessary. Workstations along the production line can activate a warning on an illuminated central display board, which constantly displays productivity levels.

  2. Asa-ichi Meeting – A meeting held every morning in Toyota plants to discuss quality deviations and eliminate their causes. An essential part of the practice of kaizen.

  3. Genchi Genbutsu – Going to the source to find the facts to make correct decisions, build consensus and achieve goals.

  4. Heijunka – Leveling the production schedule in both volume and variety. A precondition for just-in-time and elimination of mura, muri and muda.

  5. Jidoka – The act of making problems visible so they can be immediately addressed.

  6. Just-in-Time – Making only what is needed, when it is needed, and in the amount needed, delivered just as they are needed (a continuous ‘pulling’ flow of standardized operations).

  7. Kaizen – Continuous improvement. As no process can ever be declared perfect, there is always room for improvement.

  8. Kanban Card – An instruction in the process that parts need to be replenished for production to continue uninterrupted.

  9. Muda – Waste in all its forms (things that do not add value to the final product): overproduction, surplus inventory, rework/correction, motion, processing, waiting and conveyance.

  10. Mura – Unevenness (in workload). Heijunka eliminates mura, muri and muda.

  11. Muri – Overburden or strenuous work, leading to safety and quality problems – more waste.

  12. Poka-Yoke – Mistake-proofing – devices that make it difficult or impossible for a worker to make common errors at his or her workstation. A simple but creative and reliable way to reduce errors and maintain quality.

  13. Pull-System – Items called only as they are needed, as opposed to a ‘push-system’ that may not take account of actual need.

  14. Takt Time – The rate of customer demand – producing only what the market requires, and thereby achieving the optimum duration of the work-cycle that fulfills each customer’s demand.

The Toyota Production System helps ensure that Toyota forklifts retain industry-leading quality, durability, reliability and value. Toyota is the number one forklift brand as determined by Modern Materials Handling's annual Top 20 Lift Truck Suppliers list.

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