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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
This book is like a Toyota vehicle: not necessarily fancy, but extraordinarily capable of getting you from point "A" to point "B." Author Jeffrey K. Liker's thorough insight into the continual improvement method known as "The Toyota Way" reflects his experience with the Toyota Production System (TPS) and his knowledge of its guiding philosophies and its technical...
Published on 4 Aug. 2004 by Rolf Dobelli

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Would recommend this book every time it has many aspects of running a business in a Japanese a toyota way
Published on 14 Mar. 2013 by Maariyah Afsar


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!, 4 Aug. 2004
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
This book is like a Toyota vehicle: not necessarily fancy, but extraordinarily capable of getting you from point "A" to point "B." Author Jeffrey K. Liker's thorough insight into the continual improvement method known as "The Toyota Way" reflects his experience with the Toyota Production System (TPS) and his knowledge of its guiding philosophies and its technical applications. He explains why Toyota has become a global symbol of passionate commitment to continual improvement and efficiency. Toyota's success as the world's most profitable automaker is no accident and now, thanks to this book, it's no mystery, either. Liker drills down to the underlying principles and behaviors that will set your company on the Toyota Way. The book reflects years of studying Toyota's philosophy: it is well mapped out, straightforward and exceedingly although not daringly innovative. We highly recommend it to anyone striving to improve their organization's operational efficiency.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To understand this company's success, first understand its DNA, 31 July 2008
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
I read this book when it was first published in 2004 and recently re-read it, curious to know how well Jeffrey Liker's explanation of Toyota's management principles and lean production values have held up. My conclusion? Very well.

No good purpose would be served by merely listing the 14 management principles, out of context. Liker devotes a separate chapter to each, carefully explaining not only what it is but also how it guides and informs everyone at all levels and in all areas of the Toyota organization. What Liker also accomplishes, and what cannot be adequately summarized in a review such as this, is to explain how all 12 principles are interdependent. Together, they serve as the company's DNA. In the Preface, he recalls asking Fujio Cho (President of Toyota Motor Company) what was unique about his company's remarkable success. His answer was quite simple: "The key to the Toyota Way and what makes Toyota stand out is not any of the individual elements...But what is important is having all the elements together as a system. It must be practiced every day in a very consistent manner." To understand Toyota's success, therefore, it is important to understand that lean production is not a methodology, it is literally a way of life.

The 14 principles are divided into four sections:

Having a long-term philosophy that drives a long-term approach to building a learning organization

Absolute faith that the right process will produce the right results

Adding value to the organization by developing its people and partners

Continuously solving root problems to drive organizational learning

As Liker points out, it is important to understand that the Toyota Production System is not the Toyota Way. TPS is the most systematic and highly developed example of what the principles of the Toyota Way can accomplish. The Toyota Way consists of the foundational principles of the Toyota culture, which allows the TPS to function so effectively.

How does lean improvement differ from traditional process improvement? "Briefly, wheras the traditional approach to process improvement focuses on local efficiencies, in a lean improvement initiatuve, most of the progress comes from a large number of non-value steps being squeezed out. For example, overproduction, delays, and wasted motion. In fact, the ultimate goal of lean manufacturing is to apply the ideal of one-piece flow to all business operations, from product design to launch, order taking, physical production, and shipment."Some of the differences are subtle but no less significant.

To repeat, anyone can read this book and then uncerstand what the Toyota Way is. Possessing a gourmet chef's recipe, however, does not ensure that a gourmet meal will be prepared. Toyota has its own way. Other companies must develop theirs based on their own "roots." In other words, lead from their traditional strengths but not be limited by them. In fact, companies may need to re-invent themselves, not once but several times. That is what Toyota did...and continues to do. Use operational excellence as a strategic weapon and the rewards and results will far outweigh the great effort required.

That said, Liker does provide 13 "general tips." The first is to begin with action in the technical system and then follow quickly with cultural change. Other suggestions include learning by doing first and training second, using value stream mapping to develop future state visions to help "learn to see," and being opportunistic in identifying opportunities for big financial impacts. They are provided with brief but precise explanations on Pages 302-307.

It remains for each person who reads this book to determine which of the 14 management principles are most relevant to her or his own enterprise, and then to determine how to translate each into effective action. Presumably Liker agrees with me that most companies have 3-5 areas in which "lean" initiatives are urgently needed. Developing an execution plan can be tricky, however, because all business transaction involve a process of some kind and improvement of one process inevitably has a direct impact on several others. Here's one possibility, suggested to me by a COO to whom I gave a copy of this book: Read the final chapter, Chapter 22, first. It's title is "Build Your Own Lean Learning Enterprise, Borrowing from the Toyota Way." He thinks that will provide an appropriate framework within which to proceed from Gary Convis' Foreword and Liker's Preface to the conclusion of Chapter 21. That suggestion is worth consideration.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Liker's Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way as well as Matthew Mays' The Elegant Solution: Toyota's Formula for Mastering Innovation, David Magee's How Toyota Became Toyota: Leadership Lessons from the World's Greatest Car company, and What Is Lean Six Sigma? co-authored by Michael L. George, David Rowlands, and Bill Kastle.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE book on the Toyota Production System!, 16 Jun. 2007
By 
Robert Thompson "qa.manager" (Tyne and Wear, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
Everyone in the auto industry is familiar with Toyota's dramatic business success and, of course, consumers are demonstrably aware of the company's world-renowned quality. In fact, Toyota has done so well that, as Liker points out, many consider the company to be "boring." For, after all, steadily growing sales, consistent profitability, huge cash reserves, operational efficiency (combined with constant innovation--not an easy complement to pull off), and top quality, year after year, are not the stuff of breaking news. But, despite this reputation as the best manufacturer in the world, and despite the huge influence of the lean movement, most attempts to emulate and implement lean production have been fairly superficial, with less than stellar results over the long term. "Dabbling at one level--the `Process' level," U.S. companies have embraced lean tools, but do not understand what makes them work together in a system.

This integration is precisely what The Toyota Way examines, explaining how to create a Toyota-style culture of quality, lean, and learning that takes quantum leaps beyond any superficial focus on tools and techniques. Suffice it to say, there are hundreds of books out there explaining, analyzing, and advocating lean--providing details and insight into the tools and methods of TPS. The two most noted among this treasure trove are, of course, the contributions of The Machine That Changed the World (Womack, Jones, Roos, 1991) and Lean Thinking (Womack and Jones, 1996), and both stand as excellent resources on the subject. The first introduced the world to the tools and techniques of lean manufacturing by extracting its principles from their initial Japanese application and examining them in detail. And, the second explained how "to make value flow smoothly at the pull of the customer in pursuit of perfection."

The Toyota Way is, however (according to Liker), the first business book in English to provide a blueprint of Toyota's management philosophy for general business readers, dispelling the misconceptions that TPS is merely a collection of tools that lead to more efficient operations. Of course, there is no way of ascertaining the validity of this claim, without an extensive and time consuming exploration of the literature, but that truly doesn't matter. The Toyota Way is an approach of such breadth, depth, and significance to the world of business that it has yet to be fully understood; thus, the subject has not yet been fully exhausted. Liker's keen sense of the subtleties of TPS intrepidly challenges conventional understanding and transforms it with eloquent simplicity. He takes the reader deeply and comprehensively into the "heart and intelligence" of Toyota's "way," giving businesses in diverse industries some very practical and effective ideas that they can use to develop their own unique approach to TPS.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to continuously reflect on, 3 July 2007
By 
Peter Wade (Colchester England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
The Company That Invented Lean The 14 Management Principles

Being totally uninterested in cars I did not realise that Toyota is one of the worlds greatest manufacturers.

I was listening to In Business on Radio4. It was all about how Toyota has revolutionised management to create what they call lean production.

It is a fascinating read by Jeffrey K Liker. MC Graw-Hill (2004) pp 330 The Japanese have learnt in the last forty years how to make top quality cars. The 14 principles can be applied to any business and are not exclusive to manufacturing.

It is a whole way of life and a way of thinking.

Principles 1: Base your management decision on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals

Principle 2 Create continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface

Principle 3 Use" pull" systems to avoid overproduction

Principle 4 Level out the workload( heijunka)

Principle 5 Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.

Principle 6 Standards task are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment

Principle 7 Use visual control so problems are hidden

Principle 8Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes

Principle 9 Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work,live the philosophy and teach it to others.

Principle 10 Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company's philosophy

Principle 11 Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers y challenging them and helping them improve.

Principle 12 Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situations(genchi genbutsu)

Principle 13 Make decision slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all the options implement decisions rapidly ( nemawashi)

Principle 14 Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement ( kaizen)

Recently it was announced that Toyota had overtaken General Motors. How Toyota had done it was common knowledge and they have been happy to tell pople the theory but obviously General Motors had not done the practical.

I particularly like continuous reflection which works whether you are succeeding or not. If you are a succes which General Motors has been for years they obviously have not learnt to reflect on their success and maintain it.

Maybe they thought their way was the only way. Many once mighty companies have fallen from a great height,

A good read
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to Lean Principles, 6 Sept. 2010
By 
Mr. Ross Maynard (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
"The Toyota Way" is possibly the best introduction to lean management you could read (personally I like it better than "Lean Thinking"). It is superbly researched and very well written. In it Jeff Liker 14 management principles (mirroring Deming's 14 points) of the Toyota Production System and illustrates them all with examples from Toyota and other companies. I've taken a star off my rating because many of these examples are getting dated now and the book could probably do with a second edition. Also, personally, I prefer the companion volume "The Toyota Way Fieldbook" which gives a more focused analysis of the 14 points of what they mean in practice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and well written!, 11 Jan. 2007
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
Jefferey Liker's well reasoned book explains the management principles that enable TOYOTA to outperform its piers - and explains why western managers pre-occupied with `management techniques' can't `go lean', without changing the culture of their organisation
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5.0 out of 5 stars Arguably the best book that covers 'Lean' from scratch..and more!, 19 Feb. 2011
By 
Allan Madhuram "Not Enough Mana" (Nottingham) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
I was looking out for a book that covers lean from bottom to top and all the necessaries knowledge and skill to achieve lean and thank god I started off from this book. This book covers more than just the basics of lean - it focusses on how Toyota started using innovative thinking principles based on their post-world war 2 scenario and how they could compete with the big players (such as Ford and GM) and eventually succeeded. This book not only talks in depth about how lean and its principles are used, but how Toyota tackle situations on a daily basis (Case studies such as the development of the Prius and Lexus are written, providing an enriching and in depth experience about Toyota and how they overcome challenges.)

This book justifies its title - how Toyota not only outplays its competitors but also how it overcomes challenges in terms of cost and customer bases. It reinforces the fact that Toyota is more than a company - it is a body that cares about its customers and how it uses this advantage to overcome obstacles. Jeffrey Liker has presented an enjoyable and knowledgeble reading experience and also provided interviews from great men from Toyota such as Taiichi Ohno (the man that revolutionised lean thinking)and others.

This book is fantastic and although it doesnt cover as much technical detail compared to other books that focus on lean (such as 'the lean toolbox' and 'lean thinking') Jeffrey has made references to these books thus providing a very holistic approach to lean and its principles. It also provides case studies about companies who have used lean and enjoyed fantastic results which is very essential for readers in order to understand how a lean environment is established.

In short - This book is a must for beginners as well as experts in the field of lean. You will not regret buying this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Toyota Way for constructors, 2 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
This is a vital book for designers and constructors because the 14 principles Liker describes are relevant to any organisation. Many in construction have read this book within the context of a Study-Action Team with powerful effect . Some have used it to align aspirations at the start of a project and others to begin a wider lean transformation. When I read the book with a leadership group at one of my clients, the sceptics quickly became fans and the ideas quickly began to infect the whole organisation not just the business unit I was working with. (Google '"Study-action team" construction -NEST - Nigeria' for more information on SATs)

The Toyota Way is well written & easy to read [there is also an abridged audiobook which does a competent job of getting across the key points without one of those deeply annoying American accents]. After a general introduction in which he emphasises the cultural and philosophical changes required of anyone involved in a lean transformation, Liker takes each of the 14 points in turn [these are listed in another review or lookinside at the contents pages]

The final two chapters are devoted to a discussion of applying the Toyota Way in the reader's organisation. If you only have time for one book on lean read this and/or listen to the audiobook. The Toyota Way: What Toyota Can Teach Any Business About High Quality, Efficience, and Speed
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars does what it says on the tin, 6 Nov. 2011
By 
Maarten de Vries (Barcelona) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer (Hardcover)
This book explains "The Toyota Way" in a clear and detailed way. If that's what you're looking for, then "genchi genbutsu" (go and see for yourself ;o). The only thing I wonder is what has happened to Toyota in recent years, with the quality problems they have been having. Judging by Liker's intimate knowledge of Toyota, I'm sure he can explain why this happened, how it has been adressed and, even more importantly, how Toyota has learnt from it and raised the bar even further. Time for an updated version perhaps?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Toyota way beyond the rather turgid book! This will transform the way you do business., 29 Aug. 2009
By 
P. Mcgroary "Paul McGroary" (Kettering UK) - See all my reviews
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The Toyota Way is a great book but boy is it hard work. It suffers badly from the US preoccupation with selling books by weight.

The audio book gives the whole story flow. If you want to buy the book I would recommend that you also buy the audio to keep your strength up.

Put together they will become fundamental to your efforts to drive cost reduction and remove waste from your business. You really can quickly address "Dead wood issues" effectively, without conflict and in an impartial way. This package will pay for itself in hours if you have a mind to make it do so just make sure you are prepared to be bold. The big issue is you have to read the book not just buy it!

Not sure the "Cuddly" Toyota pitch is that accurate but its lovelly PR for them.The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer
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