The Machine That Changed the World

Invention of TPS

by Reza Hosseinirad

Reza Hosseinirad is a PhD Candidate in Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique of Montreal

Reza Hosseinirad is a PhD Candidate in Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique of Montreal

One invention that was introduced in the last century (between 1949 and 1975) was mass production in the car industry. I think in some ways it revolutionized means of production that were used at the same time, especially when the quality was high and price was reasonable. When It was mass produced and It was affordable by all people it really brought something… let’s say… interesting into lives. I think we can say it was the beginning of a new era in industry.

The Machine That Changed the World is a book based on the Massachusettes Institute of Techology's $5 million, five-year study on the future of the automobile, written byJames P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones, and Daniel Roos.[1]

How did it happen?

At Toyota Motor Company, Taichii Ohno and Shigeo Shingo, began to incorporate Ford production  and other techniques into an approach called Toyota Production System. As Kiichiro Toyoda, Taiichi Ohno, and others at Toyota looked at this situation in the 1930s, and more intensely just after World War II, it occurred to them that a series of simple innovations might make it more possible to provide both continuity in process flow and a wide variety in product offerings. They therefore revisited Ford’s original thinking, and invented the Toyota Production System [3].

The Concept and Its application

TPS drew wide attention from the industrial community because Toyota was a profitable car company in Japan during and after the oil embargo in 1970s. When The Machine That Changed the World was first published in 1990, Toyota was half the size of General Motors. Twenty years later Toyota passed GM as the world’s largest auto maker. This management classic was the first book to reveal Toyota’s lean production system that is the basis for its enduring success.[2]

The MIT researchers found that TPS was so much more effective and efficient than traditional, mass production that it represented a completely new paradigm and coined the term lean production to indicate this radically different approach to production.

Toyota Production System aims at providing:

I think invention of TPS philosophy acted as stepping stones for the age of mass production and tried to make the world a better place to live.


[1]. Machine That Changed the World (book)

[2] Learning to See, Mike Rother and John Shook

[3]Lean enterprise institute.