Looking beyond the obvious: Unraveling the Toyota production system
In contrast to prior research on the Toyota Production System (TPS) that has tended to focus on the micro issues or structural issues, we take an integrated approach of TPS to include the rules or principles underlying TPS. Consistent with recent work by Spear and Bowen (1999) and Spear (2004), we suggest that the systematic method in combination with lean practices typify the TPS. We expand upon this body of work by empirically examining our suggestions on a large sample data comprising manufacturing plants in several industries. Several main effects of TPS practices on performance were found. Similarly, TPS rules were found to be positively related to manufacturing performance. Finally, we found a positive interaction effect between the TPS practice of preventive maintenance and the TPS rule of decentralized decision making on all performance measures in this study, i.e. manufacturing cycle time, quality, cost, and delivery speed. Implications for theory building and for practitioners are offered.
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