This week’s selection is “The Toyota Way” by Jeffrey Liker.
Wait, what does Toyota have to do with 3D printing? Does Toyota even use 3D printers?
Perhaps they do, but the company likely has had a significant influence on your life and work, regardless of whether you even buy their products.
That’s because in the course of decades the company gradually evolved a fascinating internal culture that enabled them to grow to the largest producer of automobiles in the world today. Their success was noted by other companies who sought to replicate the process in their own enterprises, and many did so.
But what, exactly has Toyota done to achieve this success? Is there a playbook or rules they’ve followed to get there?
It turns out, yes, there is!
Toyota focused on following fourteen principles of work. Focused adherence to these principles enabled their success, and they have since been copied by others, and even modified and improved. One of the descendants of Toyota’s principles is “Lean”, a currently popular management approach.
This book focuses on the original fourteen principles. These are things that guide the development of processes, people and solutions:
- Principle 5: Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time
- Principle 11: Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve
- Principle 13: Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly
Each of the fourteen principles is discussed in detail and they all tie in with Principle 1:
“Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term goals.”
While this may sound relevant to big companies, many of these principles could equally be applied to smaller operations as well. Any business or operation dealing with other parties and having more than one internal person could benefit from following these very straightforward principles.
This is an easy read, and it’s also quite inexpensive. If you do read it, you may find your business getting on the fast track to success.