In the world of manufacturing consultants, we often think the important learnings from the Toyota Production System (TPS) can be encapsulated in a series of processes – lean production, kaizen, continuous improvement, just-in-time and other concepts.

A recent article in BusinessWorld reminds us that the lessons learned from TPS are also about people.

“…if workers have that sense of shared ownership in formulating factory rules, corporate goals can be easily achieved,” says Susumu Minegishi, a former disciple of Taiichi Ohno, creator of TPS, in the article “The Importance of Employee Empowerment.”

At Amend Consulting, we often refer to this empowerment concept as “thinking like owners.” We recognize that involving the people who implement cost savings projects isn’t just important, it’s critical. Among our satisfied customers, this is one of the differentiations we most often hear. They’ll usually remark on our consultants’ ability to connect with the workers on the shop floor and help them see the value in implementing lean processes.

With a perspective that encourages attention to cost improvements, employees start to think about the way they contribute to the bottom line. It’s not just empowerment; it’s protecting the interests of the company and profitability.

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