Friday 3 December 2021

TSP Methods in Manufacturing Innovation

Is it possible to say that organizational innovation has not exhausted its potential? In world practice, individual companies in a specific national culture (Toyota, Japan) demonstrated unique examples of a methodological breakthrough. 

Decades later, paradigms such as lean manufacturing, just-in-time, and a number of supporting tools have firmly entered the lexicon of today's leading managers. Among the latter, the Kanban methodology is of particular importance, which we will discuss below.

The place of the method in the concept of TPS

In 2007, I visited one of the machine-building enterprises of the GAZ Group with an excursion to get acquainted with the implemented system of "lean production". I note that the contrast with traditional industrial companies of that time led to a state of shock. 

No fuss in the actions of the work crews, order, cleanliness, numerous markings, including on special stands, the coherence of flows, Kanban boards with live records - all this left the impression of the action of a large well-coordinated organism.

This article does not set the task to reveal any special moments and secrets of management in lean production. To do this, there are consulting companies specializing in the implementation of appropriate systems. 

We form a goal to quickly orient readers in what the essence and principles of the system under consideration are as an ideological and applied part of a large management concept called TPS (Toyota Production System).

TPS is a production system developed over two decades by Toyota (50-60s of the last century). This system consists of a large set of techniques, each of which is based on the basic philosophy adopted in Toyota. 


The systemic methodology of "lean manufacturing" did not arise in the Japanese economy by chance. We will talk about its history and essence in a separate material, but without understanding the basic principles and deep principles of the general concept, it is very difficult to talk about the essence of the Kanban system. 


For an overview of the place of this method, we turn our attention to the scheme of the House of TPS, posted below.

Each subsystem of the frugality paradigm cannot be singled out as dominant or satellite, without which it is difficult to comprehend the essence of the entire methodology. In the concept of TPS, instrumental systems are fastened by a whole complex of philosophical theses and attitudes, which is characteristic of Eastern culture. Their relationship is based on principles related to the mechanisms of the Rubik's Cube, where each element is a part of the whole. 


Therefore, it is not easy to single out kanban as part of the tools of the general methodology. However, if you pay attention to the principle that suggests the use of a pulling system for the purpose of reducing the risk of overproduction, much falls into place.

The pulling method, unlike the push method, can significantly improve the mechanisms for the formation of material reserves accumulated in the process of creating an added product, regardless of the company's boundaries. 

Stocks at each stage of the value chain are reduced due to the fact that the subsequent link takes from the previous only so many material elements (parts, assemblies, etc.) that they are enough to replace the spent in production. 

The Kanban system is signaling. Its element is a signal that it is necessary to replenish the resource consumption that occurred at the current stage.

Types of system elements

The name of the system comes from the Japanese word "kamban", which translates as a store sign, a sign on the door, a card, a sign. In the management practice of Toyota and the successor companies of the methodology, the same meaning is divided into a whole range of concepts, which are understood: kanban boards, cards of several types, as well as containers themselves. 


In containers, parts, components, spare parts and other material objects involved in production are moved.

The system under consideration is not of an alternative nature to the computerized logistics system of management and notification of ongoing production events. 

Both of these systems are compatible, but the methodology for using Kanban boards, containers, cards in the concept of lean manufacturing is an independent tooling environment and a means of effective self-regulatory practice. 


The purpose of the methodology is to control the flow of materials in production for the continuous operation of another system, called "just in time".

Above, we offer you a typical scheme for drawing material flows, which operates universally both between the stages of the production cycle within a separate enterprise, and in relation to external suppliers integrated into the system of production cooperation. 


For this purpose, Kanban cards begin to be divided into two types: selection cards and order cards. Based on the production program of assembly production, transport with empty containers and selection cards is sent to the supplier (internal or external). From the buffer warehouse, the parts necessary for subsequent assembly are selected.

At the same time, a production order is generated for the purpose of replenishing the supplier's buffer warehouse and empty containers with order cards enter the production cell. Based on this, new manufactured products replenish the warehouse, and its status quo is restored. Thus, the mechanism of pulling material kits from the previous production link to the subsequent ones according to the current needs of the latter is included, and not vice versa.

This is the logic of common sense of everyday life, for example, when refueling a personal car or replenishing food stocks in a personal household. 


The moment and volume of replenishment of the reserve (fuel, products) are determined by the rational need and the formed experience, they are empirically optimal.

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