The Toyota Effect: Driving Inspiration

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The Toyota EffectI’m always on the lookout for inspiration. I love finding ways to be more productive, to make my day smoother, and to improve my life. So when Toyota asked me to review their series of mini-films highlighting how the Toyota Production System (TPS) – a process of continuous improvement that drives them to produce work of the highest quality possible – can be used to improve production outside of car manufacturing, I was intrigued.

When you create a smooth system, you never know what it might lead to. For Toyota, it’s led to more efficient home-building, to boosting sustainable energy, to keeping manufacturing jobs in the US, and even to saving eyesight.

In a series of documentary-style mini-films, Toyota showcases their mission to share TPS for the betterment of people’s lives and organizations. It’s called The Toyota Effect.

In one poignant example, the St. Bernard Project started rebuilding homes after Hurricane Katrina. But as volunteers and donations came rolling in, construction progress actually declined. By learning from the Toyota Production System, the St. Bernard Project went from building a house in 116 days to just 61 days.

It’s a great pay-it-forward plan that makes me proud to own a Toyota, the second of two 4Runners. A lot goes into a car-buying decision. For a family like mine that spends so much time in the car and on the road, knowing that Toyota is on a constant quest to improve quality and share its systems with others makes me feel confident about my purchase decision.

Even more so, it makes me wonder what “systems” in my own life could be improved. After watching these mini-films, I’m inspired to dig deeper into how I can streamline my “manufacturing” processes – from cooking and cleaning, to homeschooling my kids, to building my writing career. Tonight, I’ve got notebooks, calendars and colored pens spread out around me as I take on the task of putting better systems into place for myself. I guess that’s also the Toyota Effect.

Toyota believes that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen. Check out their series of mini-films here to see these ideas in action.

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