28 Mind-Blowing Taiichi Ohno Quotes

Taiichi Ohno was a Japanese industrial engineer and businessman known as the Father of the Toyota Production System. Specializing in Lean Manufacturing, Ohno devised a plan that would focused on the top seven wastes in the system, resulting in new organizational approaches throughout the world. With a couple of written works during his life, here is a look at some of the most notable Taiichi Ohno quotes ever documented.

“All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value adding wastes.”

“Also, bad quality causes big disruptions in my river system.”

“And we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value-added wastes.”

“Costs do not exist to be calculated. Costs exist to be reduced.”

“Data is of course important in manufacturing, but I place the greatest emphasis on facts.”

“Having no problems is the biggest problem of all.”


“I’m proud to be Japanese and I wanted my country to succeed. I believed my system was a way that could help us become a modern industrial nation.”

“If you are going to do kaizen continuously you’ve got to assume that things are a mess. Too many people just assume that things are all right the way they are.”

“If you are going to do TPS you must do it all the way. You also need to change the way you think. You need to change how you look at things.”

“In terms of quality, it means to make the defects immediately apparent. In terms of quantity, it means that progress or delay, measured against the plan, and is made immediately apparent.”

“It takes great effort to follow the rules of a pull system … thus a half-hearted introduction of a pull system brings a hundred harms and not a single gain.”

“Make your workplace into showcase that can be understood by everyone at a glance.”

“My first move as the manager of the machine shop was to introduce standardized work.”

“No goal, regardless of how small can be achieved without adequate training.”

“No one has more trouble than the person who claims to have no trouble.”

“People who can’t understand numbers are useless. The gemba where numbers are not visible is also bad. However, people who only look at the numbers are the worst of all.”

“Progress cannot be generated when we are satisfied with existing situations.”

“Standards should not be forced down from above but rather set by the production workers themselves.”

“The key to the Toyota Way and what makes Toyota stand out is not any of the individual elements…But what is important is having all the elements together as a system. It must be practiced every day in a very consistent manner, not in spurts.”

“The more inventory a company has, the less likely they will have what they need.”

“The only place that work and motion are the same thing is the zoo where people pay to see the animals move around.”

“The slower but consistent tortoise causes less waste and is more desirable than the speedy hare that races ahead and then stops occasionally to doze.”

“The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard. It is a system that says there is no limit to people’s creativity. People don’t go to Toyota to ‘work’ they go there to ‘think’.”

“We are doomed to failure without a daily destruction of our various preconceptions.”

“When you are out observing on the gemba, do something to help them. If you do, people will come to expect that you can help them and will look forward to seeing you again on the gemba.”

“When you go out into the workplace, you should be looking for things that you can do for your people there. You’ve got no business in the workplace if you’re just there to be there. You’ve got to be looking for changes you can make for the benefit of the people who are working there.”

“Where there is no Standard there can be no Kaizen.”

“Without standards, there can be no improvement.”

Here is a look at some important tips on visual management and understanding its meaning and origin of its foundation in the Toyota Production System.

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