Standardized work and KAIZEN are the means by which people make the Toyota Production System work. People are by far the most important element of the entire system. Without the support of everyone involved, no part of the system will work. No matter how ingenious the method of production or service may be, for example, if the workers do not follow rules, the entire system of production control will fall apart.
Standardized work is what makes the system tick on day-to-day basis. The details of every job is done on the same way every time.
But employee involvement do not end there; rather that is precisely where they begin. Employees are not expected simply to do the same job the same way forever, they are expected to, and are proud to have the opportunity to, continually redesign their own jobs.
This is the great opportunity offered to employees by Toyota Production System, the opportunity of involvement. No one wants to do a job designed (someone you don’t even know), and do it the same way time after time, day in and day out.
Through KAIZEN, you can actually design your own job. If you find a better way to do a job, a way to make it easier for example, just discuss it with your supervisor and if he or she agrees that sounds like a good idea, give it a try. If it doesn’t work, try another way.
KAIZEN is at once a responsibility, a privilege, and a commitment. If there is any one “key” or “secret” to the Toyota Production System, this is it–the fact that there is no one “system”, it is rather a dynamic, ever-evolving process where all members pool their energies, their creative resources towards a common goal. The Toyota Production System of today differs from yesterday’s, and it will be still different tomorrow, all on strength of employees who make the system run.