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Material Flow @ Toyota: What’s Different?

About The Webinar
We’ve had the great privilege over the last 10 years of being hosted by Toyota Material Handling to teach our public Mixed Model Manufacturing workshops. Naturally we keep our eyes and ears open to see how Toyota does things, and the one area that was most unexpected was their Material Flow system. In this webinar I will present the six biggest Material Flow practices at Toyota Material Handling that we rarely see practiced anywhere else! Here are the topics we’ll be exploring in detail:
Relentless Pursuit of One-By-One Flow
We usually think of one-by-one production (or one piece flow) as being mainly applicable to assembly lines, and much less so to material flow. This may not be the case.
Short Factory Floor Delivery Cycles
When I first studied material flow it was generally accepted that material handling was a “non-value adding” function that needed to be minimized as much as possible. Toyota’s practice came as a real shock!
Still Using Paper Kanban Cards
You can imaging that Toyota can afford to use any Kanban method that is most effective, and yet they still continue to use paper Kanban cards. Why is that? There is a great explanation.
No Second-Class Citizens
Many organizations classify material delivery people into a second-tier of worker: indirect versus the “value adding” direct workers who build the products. Is there a different way of looking at this class system?
True Mixed Model Manufacturing
There are various levels of mixing: building complete customer orders, building in small quantities of the same model, or truly mixing models one after the other. This last option is what Toyota Material Handling does, with a dramatic impact on Material Flow.
JIT External Supply Chain
Just-In-Time can maybe work on the factory floor, but it starts to fall apart when you try to integrate outside suppliers, and it really falls apart when you try to integrate oversea suppliers. That’s a lesson we learned during the Covid pandemic, right? Wrong!