Book Category: Leadership, Business, Entrepreneurial,

The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer (book summary)

Author: Jeffrey Liker
Life Changing Principles
Quality of Writing
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pros: Great for businesses, great takeaway principles
cons: Limited by singular experience
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The Toyota Way is a book explaining the culture and principles used by Toyota as a work philosophy.


  • Major types of non-value adding waste
    • Overproduction: Producing things for which there are no orders.
      • Source of all other wastes.
    • Waiting (time on hand): Workers standing around waiting for next step.
    • Unnecessary transport: Carrying work in long distances or inefficiently.
    • Over-processing or incorrect processing: Taking unneeded steps.
    • Excess inventory
    • Unnecessary movement: Wasted motion employees perform during the process.
    • Defects: Production of defective parts. Repairing incorrect actions.
    • Unused employee creativity: Losing value by not engaging employees.
  • Principle 1 : base your management decisions 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 : standardized tasks are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment
  • Principle 7 : use visual control so no problems are hidden
  • Principle 8 : use 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 by challenging them and helping them improve
  • Principle 12 : go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation (genchi genbutsu)
  • Principle 13 : make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly
  • Principle 14 : become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen)
  • A “lean” process is not the same as traditional process improvement.


  • Look at current processes using the major production wasters.
  • Focus on how to improve scheduling to maintain consistent work without too much or too little work.
  • Hire people who embody your philosophy.


Toyota has turned operational excellence into a strategic weapon.

Rather the power behind TPS is a company’s management commitment to continuously invest in its people and promote a culture of continuous improvement.

In the Toyota Way, it’s the people who bring the system to life: working, communicating, resolving issues, and growing together.

Lean is about developing principles that are right for your organization and diligently practicing them to achieve high performance that continues to add value to customers and society.