The Toyota Template follows the Toyota Production System (TPS). Fujio Cho said, “Many good companies have respect for individuals, and practice Kaizen and other TPS tools. But what is important is having all of the elements together as a system. It must be practiced every day in a very consistent manner–not in spurts–in a concrete way on the shop floor.”

This system is Toyota’s Just-In-Time system. It’s important to understand that the elements of the system were developed to support the pull method. Ohno began implementing the pull method after his visit to the U.S. in 1956. He developed this pull method into a Just-In-Time system which created a manufacturing advantage to the point that, for many years, he wouldn’t allow anything to be recorded about it! 

For this reason, The Toyota Template emphasizes the implementation of a pull system. Going forward, over time, this pull system should be developed into a Just-In-Time system. 

This approach is much different than current lean methods. Most “lean” initiatives have been tool oriented. This tool emphasis is still the predominate strategy (though it’s trending towards behaviors lately) used by the experts. How do we know? Well, let’s see… what is the tool that most lean experts/leaders emphasize? Value Stream Mapping (VSM). However, there are many problems with the VSM:


  1. The VSM is a snapshot in time. The information could be, and often is, very different tomorrow or next week.

  2. The VSM emphasizes symptoms. The emphasis and focus is on particular areas in production. 

  3. The VSM ignores the operating system. Push vs. Pull.

  4. The VSM gives false information. What appears to be a problem on the VSM in a push system, will likely go away in a pull system. 

  5. The VSM is NOT part of the Toyota Production System. This tool surfaced in 1998 in a book called Learning To See. In 16 years at Toyota, I never heard of this tool.


Most manufacturing is done in a push system driven by schedules. Issues like; no synchronization, excessive inventory, poor on-time-delivery, lack of visibility, etc. are common. When a push system is mapped it should be no surprise that these problems and more show up. They’re common to ALL push systems. 

Furthermore, using the VSM to identify areas for improvement (symptoms) and applying TPS elements as countermeasures in a push system is counterproductive. 


Because the Toyota Production System was developed in a pull system!

At The Toyota Template, we know that we must implement a pull system because “what is important is having all of the elements together as a system!”

© 2019 by The Toyota Template