“Good thinking. Good products.”

Day 1 of the EDM was highlighted by the TPS Dojo experience where we learned from senseis with 40+ years of production and training expertise. The “dojo” or its literal translation, “place to learn the essence”, is a powerful way to more deeply understand improvement thinking, characterized by openness to change and a focus on cost reduction.

The Dojo instruction began with a simple, yet powerful example of reusing 1 envelope. As it was explained, “Toyota, of course, has the profits (to replace an envelope after each use)”, but instead, they choose to challenge conventional thinking by reusing the envelope and simply replacing the label. This type of improvement mindset follows the pattern of saving “One step. One second. One cent.”

We spent most of the day refining our knowledge of core Toyota Production System concepts as we were guided through a balance of theory and practice. Theory on Just-in-Time and Jidoka “Stop and fix” production was followed by a simulated assembly line where teams were instructed to capture times and identify improvement opportunities. The learning was helpful to understand the difference between takt time, process time, “genuine” working time, and muda, or “waste”. After discussing the problems and brainstorming countermeasures, we gained insight on the process and power of sustainable improvement systems when the updated layout was unveiled and demonstrated.

Key learning takeaways from the group included ideas of how to build internal “dojo” environments, how to make improvements without the need for a large capital budget, and the power of simple, straightforward instruction and training without assumptions of prior knowledge and skill levels.

Our day ended with a fantastic dinner of “shabu shabu” beef and surprise guest visitors. We’re excited for tomorrow as we will visit an automobile manufacturer in the morning and component supplier in the afternoon.

The learning journey continues!