Toyotaism and the broadcast industry

Perhaps I need to get out more, but the whole idea of Toyotaism and Just in Time manufacture really rather fascinates me. So I did some digging and I wrote this up for a client.

An an aside, this is a piece of content marketing rather than a definitive history of the principles of the Toyota Production System and its impact on the broadcast industry. Several readers of the feature have pointed out that there are companies in the broadcast space already implementing TPS, but this was written to introduce the concepts to people that may not have come across them and was never meant to be exhaustively comprehensive. Think of it as a 101.

Anyway, here’s an extract. The full article can be read over on the Viaccess-Orca blog

Lean manufacturing, as exemplified by the Toyota Production System (TPS), seeks to eliminate inefficiencies in the production process. These are termed in Japanese: Muda (waste), which further subdivides into eight categories including, for example, inventory and unused skills; Muri (overburden), and Mura (unevenness).

The supermarket analogy is a good way of understanding it. As Ohno-san wrote in his book Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production: “A supermarket is where a customer can get (1) what is needed, (2) at the time needed, (3) in the amount needed…” TPS emulates this by making sure that the right components are delivered to the right point of the vehicle assembly lines at the right time; first extending this back through the production process so that they arrive at the factory at the right time and are ordered at the right time; and then further extending it through the process by encouraging the suppliers to implement it as well.

Anyone who has bought a new car recently will be familiar with the lead times involved in the process. Rather than being served from stock as they historically were, the manufacture of cars and a good proportion of their components is only started once the order is placed. And while this may be an inconvenience to the consumer, that is balanced by a reduction in costs provided by the more efficient manufacturing process.

There are other important elements to the full implementation of TPS, such as Jidoka, or the use of intelligent automation, and Kaizen, the concept of continuous improvement at all levels. In fact you can make the comparison that lean manufacturing is to TPS what mindfulness is to Buddhism: there’s a philosophy and culture to it that adds great depth beyond just the day to day practice. But, rather than getting bogged down in the details, let’s look at how it all maps on to the modern broadcast workflow.

Head to Reinventing the Digital Media Supply Chain to read the rest.