Rituso Shingo on The Toyota Production System and SMED

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40 years with Toyota, founder and the first president of Toyota China.

Show notes: https://www.leanblog.org/409

My guest for Episode #409 of the Lean Blog Interviews podcast is Ritsuo Shingo. I first met Mr. Shingo at the Shingo Institute Annual Conference in 2009 when my book Lean Hospitals received the publication prize that's named after his father, Shigeo Shingo. I was also blessed to have time to speak 1x1 with Mr. Shingo, thanks to our mutual friend, the late Norman Bodek, which included discussions about the need for mistake proofing in healthcare -- very vivid memories for me.

Ritsuo Shingo is an expert in leadership with more than 40 years of experience serving at top management positions at Toyota.

He was the founder and the first president of Toyota China. Under his leadership, Toyota China became one of the most successful ventures of Toyota worldwide. Following this success, he was appointed as the president of Hino Motors and then served as the president of GAC-Hino until 2009.

Shingo was the translator of the first book on Toyota Production System in English written by his father, TPS pioneer, Shigeo Shingo in 1976. He applied his father's and other TPS pioneers' teachings into his management practices.

Today he dedicates his time to coaching high-level executives as well as teaching the next generation of leaders his learnings from the practice of Toyota style management. He is teaching a virtual master class in leadership and management, which starts this Thursday:

Practical Leadership Skills – Microcertification program in Management

There will be a discount available for listeners of this podcast - use code 8QQV4AWY0VDF and tell them you heard about it via the Lean Blog Podcast. Disclosure: the NK Institute for Human Advancement offered me a free virtual seat in the workshop.

Topics and questions in today's episode include:

  • What was the most important thing you learn from your father?
  • What do you remember about translating the green book?
  • Big misunderstanding… in the West, they thought suppliers should keep big inventory even though Toyota had none
    • Just in time requires local suppliers, frequent deliveries, and high quality
    • You need close relationships with suppliers, win/win collaboration
  • How do you explain TPS?
    • “An accumulation of small improvements”
  • “Wherever you go, workers are not the problem”
    • “It's a management problem, but sometimes they blame workers”
    • He told a plant manager he was “escaping from his responsibility”
  • What is the origin of the term SMED – Single Minute Exchange of Die?
    • What are the golf origins?
    • Should it have been called SDED – Single Digit Exchange of Die, since it means “single digit minutes” not “one minute”?
    • “It's too late”
  • You define TPS as “organisational fitness to adapt” rather than a set of methodologies — what do you mean by that? Please tell us more…
    • “Nobody ever told me what Toyota culture was” — the culture is the people
  • Is a fully automated plant the best plant? No
  • How has Toyota fared so well during the pandemic?
  • Helping the supplier reduce costs together, versus just demanding a lower price (Nissan, Tesla, etc.)
  • Favorite memories of our friend Norman Bodek?
  • Tell us more about the workshop

The podcast is sponsored by Stiles Associates, now in their 30th year of business. They are the go-to Lean recruiting firm serving the manufacturing, private equity and healthcare industries. Learn more.

This podcast is part of the #LeanCommunicators network.

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