Born: 1912

Died: 1990

Taiichi Ohno is best known for:

A Brief Introduction:

Taiichi Ohno graduated from Nagoya Institute of Technology. He joined Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Works in 1932 (this later became Toyota) and for about twenty years worked his way up in Toyota.


In the 1940s and early 1950s, Mr. Ohno was the Production Engineer and later the Assembly Manager for Toyota and developed many improvements that eventually became the Toyota Production System.

The 1950s also saw the beginning of a long collaboration with Shigeo Shingo and the refinement of their earlier efforts into an integrated Manufacturing Strategy.

Taiichi Ohno visited Ford factories in the US to understand the conveyorized assembly line but he was impressed with American supermarkets.

Mr. Ohno's career accelerated as a result of his success as Assembly Shop Manager and he became an Executive Vice President in 1975.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Ohno retired from Toyota and was president of Toyota Gosei, a Toyota subsidiary and supplier.

Toyota Production System (TPS)

The Toyota Production System (TPS) was developed between 1945 and 1970 and it is still evolving today. Because of TPS, Toyota was quite ahead of other competitors during the oil crisis of the 1970s.

Toyota Production System (TPS) led to the development of the Lean Manufacturing concept.

Seven Types of Wastes:

These can be abbreviated as TIMWOOD (Transportation, Inventory, Motion, Waiting, Overproduction, Overprocessing and Defects).

The original seven wastes (Muda) was developed by Taiichi Ohno, as part of the Toyota Production System (TPS). Later on, an eight waste (Underutilized staff or skills) was added to this list.

Chalk Circle

One of the methods used by Mr. Ohno to train was to draw a chalk circle in front of the area which had a problem on the shop floor. Av disciple that was assigned the role to solve that problem was asked to stand in that circle and just watch. This was to teach the importance of observing and paying attention to details.

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