Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma Definitions

Glossary terms, history, people and definitions about Lean and Six Sigma

Taiichi Ohno

Taiichi Ohno (February 29, 1912 – May 28, 1990) was an industrial engineer and manager at Toyota Motor Corporation. He joined the Toyoda Spinning corporation in 1932, and moved to the motor company in 1943. He started a a shop-floor supervisor, and eventually rose up to the executive level. The 1950’s also saw the beginning of a long collaboration with Shigeo Shingo.

He is considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System (TPS), which became the foundation of Lean Manufacturing in the United States.

He devised the seven wastes (or muda in Japanese) as part of this system. He also created Just-in-time manufacturing (JIT), kanban, jidoka, supermarkets, cellular manufacturing, takt time, and the Ohno circle.

Ohno is also known for his “Ten Precepts” to think and act to win.

  1. You are a cost. First reduce waste.
  2. First say, “I can do it.” And try before everything.
  3. The workplace is a teacher. You can find answers only in the workplace.
  4. Do anything immediately. Starting something right now is the only way to win.
  5. Once you start something, persevere with it. Do not give up until you finish it.
  6. Explain difficult things in an easy-to-understand manner. Repeat things that are easy to understand.
  7. Waste is hidden. Do not hide it. Make problems visible.
  8. Valueless motions are equal to shortening one’s life.
  9. Re-improve what was improved for further improvement.
  10. Wisdom is given equally to everybody. The point is whether one can exercise it.

He later trained and consulted with Toyota suppliers in TPS, which led to the development of the Toyota Autonomous Study Group and eventually TSSC.

In the early 1980’s, Ohno retired from Toyota and was president of Toyota Gosei, a Toyota subsidiary and supplier. He spent the next decade enhancing his TPS system with clients of Hitoshi Yamada, and personally certified him to carry on his legacy.







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