Toyota Talent | Jeffrey K. Liker

Summary of: Toyota Talent: Developing Your People the Toyota Way
By: Jeffrey K. Liker


Welcome to the summary of ‘Toyota Talent: Developing Your People the Toyota Way’ by Jeffrey K. Liker. In these pages, you will learn about Toyota’s world-class manufacturing system and the key principles that form the backbone of their employee development program. These six principles range from fostering a long-term future for the company to the importance of teamwork and supplier relationships. The book traces Toyota’s training techniques back to the American Training Within Industry (TWI) program and emphasizes the importance of quality job instruction in developing talented employees and optimizing performance.

Toyota’s core principles for a quality-driven workforce.

Toyota, a world-class auto manufacturer, is renowned for its dependable cars and profitable, efficient operations. Toyota’s success lies in its meticulous production system, grounded in six core principles that prioritize employee development. To ensure a long-term future and minimize waste, Toyota invests heavily in employee training, standardizes operations when possible, empowers workers, and establishes highly trained teams. It also emphasizes the importance of ensuring that managers and supervisors thoroughly understand their responsibilities and can capably instruct their subordinates. Additionally, Toyota recognizes the crucial role of suppliers in its production chain and provides support to ensure their employees receive proper training. Finally, Toyota plans and organizes everything with a constant focus on learning and improving. These principles have made Toyota’s production system the envy of other companies and demonstrate the value of prioritizing employee development for a quality-driven workforce.

Toyota’s Effective Worker Training Techniques

Following the end of World War II, the American occupation forces in Japan introduced the Training Within Industry (TWI) program to teach Japanese industrialists how to improve their production processes. This, along with the help of noted American businessman W. Edwards Deming, contributed to the reconstruction of Japanese industry. Toyota learned effective worker training techniques from the TWI program, which played a significant role in improving their production capabilities. The Americans’ transfer of knowledge helped the nation of Japan rebuild and expand their capabilities, emphasizing the importance of knowledge acquisition and transfer in achieving company performance.

The Four Components of TWI

The TWI program, rooted in Deming’s “plan, do, check, and act” method, consists of four core components: job instruction, job methods, job relations, and program development. Job instruction involves decomposing a job and teaching workers each step. Job methods optimize operations by eliminating redundancy and improving sequencing. Job relations enhance worker morale through policies, communication, and action. Finally, program development designates individuals within each plant to run training programs, allowing for plant-by-plant implementation.

Toyota’s Training Strategy

Toyota’s training strategy centers around quality job instruction as the key to developing talented employees. Their job-training method teaches workers how to perform specific physical tasks involved in making cars and imparts valuable knowledge about goals and motivation. The company categorizes jobs by the manual tasks involved and the knowledge required to accomplish them efficiently. Toyota’s job instruction program is also known as the “four-step method,” which involves preparing the student for training, presenting the operation, evaluating the student’s performance, and following up later. The essence of Toyota’s training strategy is breaking down each job into its component parts, determining the important steps, then teaching workers how to do each part of the overall task in sequence. Toyota believes that anyone can learn anything if taught properly, making teaching the central part of any manager’s job. Trainers and supervisors in most organizations can apply these principles by using a deliberate, methodical approach to ensure that quality job instruction is given to develop talented employees.

Toyota’s Effective Training Approach

Toyota’s training relies on step-by-step learning, continuous development, and supervisor training. By mastering individual steps, workers can combine them with additional coaching. Standard methods are taught, and ongoing training leads to higher quality and productivity.

Essential Steps for Effective Job Training

To establish an effective company job training program, conduct thorough organizational needs assessment, evaluate the current situation using metrics, communicate with personnel, determine appropriate resources for training, ensure full-qualification of trainers, and implement developmental plans for all employees to learn basic job skills and become capable of handling more duties with time.

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