The Toyota Way to Service Excellence - Jeffrey Liker and Karyn Ross

The Toyota Way to Service Excellence - Jeffrey Liker and Karyn Ross

Learn the principles used by Toyota, a giant at automobilistic industry, to continually deliver excellence to their consumers!

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Jeffrey Liker’s first book, “The Toyota Way” (2003), revolutionized the way the industry saw the Lean philosophy of production. With success, many companies around the world have decided to implement the methodology.

However, he realized that many failed to apply the Toyota Model because they only tried to imitate what worked in the factory of the Japanese giant.

Thinking about this and with the contribution of Karyn Ross, Jeffrey presents in this book the best ways to understand and experience the principles of the Toyota Model within your company.

Are you excited? In this summary of the book “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence” you will look at the key aspects of this model!

The book “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence”

Published on 20th September 2016 by McGraw Hill Publishing, “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence” quickly reached the top of the best-seller lists in the Engineering and Management segments.

With more than 400 pages divided into 10 chapters, the publication brings 17 essential principles for the operation of the Toyota Production System, related to philosophy, process, people and problem solving (what the authors call Model 4P).

To develop their ideas on each foundation, the authors make use of real examples and practical applications of the methodology.

Throughout the summary, let’s look at the main points behind every aspect of the model – philosophy, process, people, and problem solving.

Who are Jeffrey Liker and Karyn Ross?

Jeffrey K. Liker is Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations at the University of Michigan. He is the author of the best-seller “The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer”.

Karyn Ross is a consultant specializing in Lean. She worked with companies such as Zurich Insurance (brokerage firm) and Paychex. Karyn has published articles in the magazines “The Lean Management Journal” and “Industrial Engineer”.

Why should I read “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence”?

“The Toyota Way to Service Excellence” is a must read for professionals who want to deliver services with excellence, at all levels and completely change your company’s culture.

In addition, it is essential for anyone who wishes to gain more insight into the Lean philosophy, to know how this method can be used to institute continuous improvement and focus on delivering excellence to customers.

What can I learn from “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence”?

  • The purpose of an organization should be pursued with passion and commitment, always relying on core values;
  • In a culture of delivering excellence to the consumer, it is important that all parts of the process increase the value offered to the customer;
  • Level standards of work are important to maintain internal cohesion;
  • Leaders need to train and implement the company culture in their commanding;
  • It is important to align in a balanced way the focus on the client with the intellectual quality of the collaborators;
  • Improvement goals should be aligned with the company’s overall strategy;
  • Problem solving should be an opportunity to create new and better techniques;
  • The 4P Model - Philosophy, Process, People, Problem Solving – is the basis for the operation of the Toyota method.

So let’s get down to business? How about looking at each of these 4P aspects better?

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[Book Summary] The Toyota Way to Service Excellence - Jeffrey Liker and Karyn Ross

Aspect 1: Philosophy

In the first aspect of the 4P model, Jeffrey Liker and Karyn Ross address the importance of living a philosophy within the organization.

They explain that this aspect is the foundation for excellence in services and also for the other three aspects.

Basically, philosophy is the notion that the company must have about its vision of future success, allied to the way the company works to achieve this. It is responsible for providing purpose and direction to the company’s efforts.

To formulate your purpose, you can base yourself on the following questions:

  • How will my organization contribute to consumers?
  • How can it be the one that most contributes with the clients?
  • What are the core values of the company?
  • What is important to the organization in relation to society?

Aspect 2: Processes

The next point addressed by the 4P model is the processes. Initially, the authors point out that there is no simple and quick solution to make processes leaner within a company.

This is because processes involve the interdependence of many people and the way things are done.

They explain that the ideal process for customers is the single flow, which is direct: the customer can ask for exactly what they want and receive it immediately, in the quantity needed.

Consumers pay for added value to the product, not for other activities during the production process. Basically, this singular flow means adding value to the product during each step.

The analysis of this aspect is divided into two parts:

Macro processes

Here, the focus is on the larger solutions that should be led by senior managers. It can be mapped how the flow of material and information travels through the processes until it reaches the consumer.

Liker and Ross define some practices to conduct the macro processes in the best way:

Micro processes

This is where the actions formulated in the design of the macro processes are carried out. In the microprocesses the main daily contributions are realized with continuous improvement through the organization.

In them, challenges that arise daily are solved. From daily PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycles, the company continues to improve and remains firm in the direction of the established vision.

Some suggested practices are:

  • Stabilizing and continuously adapting work patterns;
  • Visually manage processes, facilitating comparison and analysis;
  • Build quality at every stage;
  • Make use of technology to facilitate the development of people.

Aspect 3: People

In the book Everybody Matters, Bob Chapman mentions that the vast majority of businesses reply that its employees are its most valuable asset, when in practice they treat them disrespectfully.

In the Toyota Model, on the other hand, it is believed that the best way to show respect for employees is to continually encourage them to improve.

They are continually challenged to achieve high levels of performance while being trained and mentored.

This shows its importance within the company and favors its development inside and outside the organization.

During a transformation to a Lean company, the following practices should be followed:

  • Organize people in a way that balances their level of expertise and their customer focus;
  • Develop a culture of customer satisfaction within the organization;
  • Integrating external partners into this culture;
  • Develop skills and mentality to support this culture;
  • Develop leaders as mentors of teams that are constantly evolving;
  • Balance rewards.

Jeffrey Liker and Karyn Ross talk several times throughout “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence” about the importance of forming leaders who are able to identify, motivate and contribute to the strengths of their team.

Aspect 4: Problem Solving

Finally, in the last part of the 4P Model, you will find Problem Solving, which represents continuous organizational learning.

The main idea of this aspect is to work so that problem solving is no longer seen as a reactive practice but rather as an inspiring way of raising the standard of excellence in that part that has deviated.

For this, it is important that the PDCA cycle techniques are understood by employees at all levels of the company. This allows the objectives to be aligned with the company’s long-term strategy.

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How can I apply the ideas from “The Toyota Way to Service Excellence”?

To implement the Toyota Model principles in your reality, the authors suggest some tips:

  • The quest for efficiency needs to be deeply embraced by the company’s leaders;
  • Every company must develop its own model, not just copy what worked out in another circumstance;
  • Leaders at all levels should be trained in the process of continuous improvement;
  • People who occupy the highest levels of leadership should learn by practice before they can train the levels below;
  • A chain of mentoring must be established within the organization;
  • Managers should be examples of management focused on customer satisfaction;
  • Any deviation in standards of excellence should be treated as an opportunity for learning and improvement.

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It is important to remember that this text is a synthesis of the main ideas of the book. Therefore, to know the ideas developed by the author, you can buy the complete edition of the book by clicking below:

The Toyota Way to Service Excellence - Jeffrey K. Liker and Karyn Ross