TPS Handbook (1973)

The original guide to TPS as directed by Taiichi Ohno - Kindly provided by Mark Warren of Tesla2


By Mark Warren 

To the best of our knowledge, the original content of the 1973 TPS manual[1] was written by the staff[2] of Toyota Motor Corp. 

(OMCD - Operations Management Consulting Division) 

Art Smalley was my source for finding a copy of the 1973 TPS manual in Japanese. 

While the early machine translations were very interesting, many details could not be translated and the nuances that a native speaker would understand in the implied message, were missed. 

A special thanks to the translators, Marie Yasunaga and Abdulrahman Zahran for providing critical insights into the content of the manual. 

Lean expert, Michel Baudin provided additional insights on the manual translation and Franck Vermet on simplifying and clarifying the content.


[2] Ohno’s direct reports in the 1950’s – K. Suzumura, I. Watanabe, M. Morita, Y Arima

Throwing down the gauntlet

About a decade ago John Shook challenged me to understand what Taiichi Ohno did differently with the TWI programs. This led to the need to test applying all the TWI programs as a group, rather than as single programs.

Dr. Vivek Nagarajan, with the PSG Institute of Management, found many companies willing to host a small team for two weeks, four hours a day. 

The training was split between teaching theory and shop floor implementation. The goal was to immediately apply the TWI skills and learn how to transfer the skills effectively. 

Thanks to Roots Cast, TVS, Pricol, L&T, LGB, and the many other companies that hosted our visits. I cannot forget Hari Prasad’s tireless efforts behind the scenes and his practical notes as an intern following the experiments.

The next level of understanding would not have been possible without the support of the Rang Dong factory hosting multiple visits. 

The first visit took place during their peak season, yet the supervisors and managers found time for coaching and running experiments to solve problems and improve their processes. 

We tested on multiple lines, simplifying the process of organizing for flow. They have about 50 lines that range from automatic to manual; electronic surface mount lines (SMT), semi-automatic through hole (THT) and manual insertion of circuit boards, assembly of hundreds of different types of lights (refrigerator light to street lights), metal forming (for light frames), and plastics (extrusion and blow molds). 

Duc Nguyen was instrumental in getting support from the board of directors, organizing the first teams of volunteer managers and supervisors, to daily participation with various teams to monitor progress, and acting as one of the primary translators.

Revision 0.2 June 2018

All rights attributed to Toyota Motor Company – original document draft 1973.

First Printing: 2018

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Welcome to the 1973 TPS Manual!


  • How to use this course
  • A quick hello
  • Before we begin

Introduction from Mark Warren

  • Introduction - Mark Warren
  • Pop quiz (just for fun)

Introduction - Taiichi Ohno

  • Practice Rather Than Theory - Introduction by Ohno San
  • Introduction - questions

Chapter 1

  • Section 1 - Toyota Cost & Labour Reduction Method
  • Section 1 - questions
  • Section 2 - Labour Reduction and Cost
  • Section 3 - Labour Reduction and Quality
  • Section 4 - Labour Reduction and Safety
  • Pop Quiz - Cost, Quality, Safety
  • Section 5 - Labour Reduction and Human Relations
  • Interjection - Brain Stuff for Business
  • Section 6 - How to Promote Labour Reduction Activities
  • Section 7 - Labour Reduction and Supervisors
  • What did you think of Chapter 1?

Chapter 2 - Efficiency

  • Section 1 - What is Efficiency?
  • Section 2 - Individual Efficiency and Overall Efficiency
  • Section 3 - Increasing Efficiency by Eliminating Unnecessary Activity
  • What did you think of chapter 2?

Chapter 3 - Standard Work

  • Section 1 - Standard Work
  • Section 2 - Creating Standard Operating Procedures
  • Section 3 - Preparation of Work Instructions
  • Section 4 - Preparation of Work Instruction Manual
  • Section 5 - Quality Check Table
  • Section 6 - Procedure of Work Based on Standard Work
  • What did you think of chapter 3?

Chapter 4 - Kanban System

  • Section 1 - About Kanban
  • Section 2 - Kanban Thinking
  • Section 3 - What is Kanban
  • Section 4 - Kanban Rules
  • What did you think of chapter 4?

Appendix - Changing the Way of Work

  • Section 1 - Placement of Machines
  • What did you think of 'Appendix' - Placement of machines


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