TPS's process design in American automotive plants and its effects on the triple bottom line and sustainability
Many people assume that Japanese management practices, the Toyota Production System, have been whole-heartedly implemented by American automakers for more than two decades. However, the recent financial and operational crises faced by American automakers indicate that a performance gap still exists between their production processes and those used by their Japanese counterparts. In this paper, we conduct a case study to identify differences in the seven Toyota Way principles associated with process design between American automakers and Toyota from the triple bottom line perspective to investigate the effects of different process designs along three dimensions of sustainability: economic (profit), social (people), and environmental (planet). Through the within-case analyses, we identify the similarities and differences of process designs in two American automotive plants and the Toyota Production System to establish essential information for the triple bottom line analyses. We then conduct cross-case analyses to explore the effects of different process designs not only on the traditional profitability performance measures but also on workforce management and environmental performance measures. Our research findings provide new insights into the current status of Toyota Production System implementation and its effects on the triple bottom line and sustainability.
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