Toyota is today the largest car manufacturer in the world. They have long-term outperform their competitors in terms of quality, efficiency and growth. How is this possible? What is the core of their competitive advantage? For decades scholars from around the world have tried to unlock the secret of success by describing Toyota’s production system. Various management concepts have been developed, such as TQM, Kaizen and Lean Production, trying to extract and package the know-how of Toyota. Today these concepts are standard for most manufacturing companies around the world. The Toyota inspired management concepts have however mostly focused on physical manufacturing processes and how to increase their efficiency and productivity.
A central question of today is how the philosophy can be transferable into the whole company (lean production and lean service) and how it can be integrated into the minds and behaviours of the employees. Toyota always states that the main secret of their success is that “...we do not produce cars, we produce people! ”. How can this approach be transferred into western companies? How is a “lean mindset” produced? What is “lean” from a total perspective? What can companies and every employee learn from “The Toyota Way”? How can companies and organizations create an evolutionary learning capability?
Niklas Modig is a researcher at the European Institute of Japanese Studies and Center for Innovation and Operatoins Management at Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden. He has been living for extended periods in Japan since 1994 and reads, writes, and speaks Japanese fluently. From 2006 to 2008, Niklas was a visiting researcher at the “Center of Excellence – Manufacturing Management Research Center” at the University of Tokyo. As the first foreign researcher in the world Niklas was given access to conduct a in-depth study of Toyota’s own view on ”lean service” and “lean retail”.
Niklas’ current research focus is how Toyota is extracting their competitive advantage and transferring the Toyota Production System into non-manufacturing systems. He is currently finalizing his doctoral thesis regarding how Toyota Motor Corporation has integrated the Toyota Production System within the Toyota car dealer industry in Japan.
Niklas holds a M.Sc. (Operations Strategy) from Stockholm School of Economics and is also certified within communication and change – Communicology. He works as a supervisor and facilitator for various multi-national companies and organizations focusing on both strategic and operational development. Niklas has lately taken a prominent position as an inspirational lecturer within the field of lean service and operational excellence. He is also a board member of Lean Forum.
In parallel with his business research, Niklas is also researching about Communicology and is currently conducting an in-depth qualitative study of the original training program developed by Jorunn Sjøbakken & Truls Fleiner.
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Lean, lean production, lean manufacturing, lean service, lean retail, lean hotel, lean systems, lean government, lean sales, lean healthcare, lean hospital, lean administration, Toyota, Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Sales Logistics, communicology, kommunikologi.