The author, President and CEO, Toyota Motor Manufacturing USA Inc., in addressing the subject of agility in the automotive industry, views agility as the ability of manufacturers to be responsive to the constantly changing marketplace. Finding ways to overcome the inherent inflexibility in manufacturing operations is viewed as a huge responsibility for management. This challenge was one of the fundamental driving forces behind the development of what is now called the Toyota Production System (TPS). Toyota approaches flexibility on the production floor by seeking ways to shorten lead time, since with shorter lead times it is much easier to change the direction of production to accommodate changing customer demand. The TPS employs three main elements to achieve shorter lead time. First is the system of transmitting customer requirements more directly to the shop floor. Second is the quick changeover of equipment, such as the quick die change of stamping presses. Third is the human element - multiskilled team members who have strong problem-solving capabilities. Toyota also pursues the challenge of flexibility in areas outside of what is normally considered TPS, such as the production strategy of building "bridges" among different plants.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This issue of UMTRI Research Review contains the summaries of 20 speeches presented at the University of Michigan's 1994 Automotive Management Briefing in Traverse City.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute

    2901 Baxter Road
    Ann Arbor, MI  United States  48109-2150
  • Authors:
    • Cho, F
  • Publication Date: 1994-9


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 12-14
  • Serial:
    • UMTRI Research Review
    • Publisher: University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute
    • ISSN: 0739-7100

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00719395
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Vol. 25, No. 2 & 3, HS-041 741, HS-041 742
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Mar 7 1996 12:00AM