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Toyota Talent: Developing Your People the Toyota Way Hardcover – May 14, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Toyota's Secrets to Building an Exceptional Workforce

Leading Toyota authorities Jeffrey Liker and David Meier give you the keys to growing top performers from within through a detailed process of preparation, training, and follow-up. Drawing upon Liker's detailed study of Toyota's manufacturing, technical, and service organizations across the globe, and Meier's deep experience gained from working with some of Toyota's best sensei, the authors bring the company's proven practices to life through insight and exercises, enabling you to

  • Define your organizational needs and objectives
  • Create development plans for all employees
  • Grow your top talent from within
  • Analyze routine work and ancillary tasks
  • Break down a job for effective training
  • Break the cycle of poor training and results to create a cycle of continuous learning and improvement

About the Author

Jeffrey K. Liker, Ph.D., author of the bestselling The Toyota Way, is Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan and coowner of lean consulting firm Optiprise, Inc. His Shingo-Prize winning work has appeared in The Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and other leading publications.

David P. Meier is coauthor (with Liker) of The Toyota Way Fieldbook, and is President of Lean Associates, Inc., a consulting company dedicated to supporting other organizations in their efforts to learn from the Toyota Way. David was a group leader for Toyota Motor Manufacturing for ten years.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (May 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071477454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071477451
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Toyota Talent is the third, and newest, book in the "Toyota Way" series:

* The Toyota Way, written by Dr. Jeffrey Liker
* The Toyota Way Fieldbook, by Liker and David Meier
* Toyota Talent, Liker and Meier

They are a trilogy of books, but each is very different and has its own unique place in the lean literature. These books are unlike a series of novels, such as the Harry Potter series (I presume, not having read them), where you necessarily have to read all of them.

The Toyota Way is an outstanding overview of the Toyota methodology, philosophy, and management system. The book does an excellent job of describing how Toyota is, in a high-level manner that can be applied across industries, including the gap between manufacturing and healthcare. The Toyota Way is one of the very first books I would recommend to any executive or manager to get a sense of the overall Toyota system (helping them avoid the urge to implement selected lean tools without understanding the entire system.

The Toyota Way Fieldbook was not, as some might have thought, simply a paperback version of The Toyota Way. The Fieldbook was an altogether different book, with a different purpose. As effective as The Toyota Way was, the Fieldbook was necessary for filling in the gaps in a reader's mind, someone who thought, "Ok, I know how Toyota is.... but how do *I* get there??" The Fieldbook is more of a guide for "how to implement" the Toyota Production System.
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Seriously, if you don't read this, you'll never get any lean effort to stick. Liker and Meier are uncovering yet another huge part of the Toyota Production System: its base! Ultimately, Toyota did not invent the Toyota Production System to have a nice lean method, but to build (and sell!) better cars by developing better thinking, ie competence and judgement in all its employees - "making things is about making people" in TPS parlance. Although this aspect of TPS is oft mentioned, never has it been systematically detailed clearly as in Liker and Meier's book. We can see the effort and application Toyota brings to training and developing its people, operators and management alike.

Why is this so important to lean implementation? Without it the results simply don't sustain themselves. Whereas the kaizen workshops and cost reduction efforts are the bricks that can build a budget, on-the-job training of standard work is the mortar that holds the bricks together. There is no point in improving quality or reducing the cost in a cell by going to single-piece-flow if the team members can't keep up the new standards or if the team members, team leaders and supervisors can't solve all the problems which appear in striving to work at standard.

Toyota Talent shows to what extend and in what level of detail Toyota is interested in analyzing work to sustain standards and look for waste to eliminate. It also give a good idea of how to build a training program to start building on people rather than continuously building on sand. Finally, it gives detailed guidance on how to conduct on-the-job training, and how to train the supervisors to do so.

Experience of working with Toyota engineers and operators is that they simply "know more" about the job at hand.
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Liker and Meier did it again and wrote again an excellent book. This time it's the first in a new series about Toyota. I cannot wait for the next ones to be released.

Toyota Talent's main content is the training methods used by Toyota which originates from the Training Within Industry, Job Instruction module. Training within Industry was a US program to help the war effort. After the war, they send the trainers to Japan to help the Japanese industry. The TWI material made it in Toyota and they improved it and started using it.

I was aware of the TWI JI module before reading this book. I always found it interesting, however, my main job has always been in product development. So, before reading this book, I was quite biased that "it will not work for product development".

Liker and Meier gradually tackled my bias. In chapter 5 they introduce the excellent task variety table. This makes a distinction between the different type of tasks, from routine to nonroutine. Then they continue describing that every job consists of all the different types of tasks. More mechanical jobs contain more routine tasks, more engineering will contain more craft tasks. I slowly move over my prejudice and start to see that even my own job has a whole bunch of routine tasks. Doing this in the beginning of the book made me more open towards reading the rest.

After this Meier and Liker go into very much detail on how to standardize work, break it down and how to train it to other people. The descriptions are incredibly detailed, concrete and clear.

In the end, it shortly talks about the talent development approach to nonroutine work, but unfortunately this was only 3 or 4 pages. The books could have included more on that subject also still.

Anyways, I learned a lot. I don't know yet how to apply this knowledge in real life, but I'm sure, somehow I will and this book will be very beneficial. Great work.
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