The Purple Cat and the Toyota Way

The Purple Cat*

Toyota Production System (TPS). Lean Management. Six Sigma.  Art of War.  I’m making an inventory of my mini-library cum arsenal.  This is also with reference to the learnings I’ve acquired since I joined the industry not so long ago.   

Displayed in my mini-library are my favorite business management books, written or influenced by gurus: Peter Drucker, Spencer Johnson, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Sun Tzu, and Taiichi Ohno (through Jeffrey Liker) – ideas and practices which are being echoed by my most trusted mentors. 

I’m now in a situation, which warrants the need to read some of my favorite books again; not just for conversational piece, but to remind me of things which I was passionate about…methods I used to teach my students…the discipline that made me resilient. I need to regroup.

The Toyota Way**

Book Cover – The Toyota Way
Published by: Mc-Graw Hill
Copyright 2004

First of, is a book published to document the tradition of excellence in manufacturing that is, Toyota – The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker, with copyright by Mc-Graw Hill, 2004.  This sets the spotlight on Toyota as a global enterprise that invented Lean Production.  The book expounds on how the practices by Toyota propelled the company to be one of the most revered. 

Whereas, I’m not in the position to provide authoritative information about Toyota, what I can post here is an easy reference only.  Thus, I’m sharing a list of – The 14 Principles of the Toyota Way.  These principles are presented in an executive summary, which also highlights specific sections of the book (The Toyota Way, page 37).  The book itself is an investment to those who wish to learn from Toyota. It doesn’t speak of any rocket science.

The 14 Principles of the Toyota Way

1. Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals.

2.  Create continuous process flow to bring problems to the surface.

3.  Use “pull” systems to avoid overproduction.

4.  Level out the workload (heijunka).

5. Build a culture of stopping to fix problems, to get quality right the first time.

6.  Standardized tasks are the foundation for continuous improvement and employee empowerment.

7.  Use visual control so no problems are hidden.

8.  Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes.

9.  Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.

10.  Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company’s philosophy.

11.  Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.

12.  Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation (genchi genbutsu).

13.  Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly.

14.  Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen).


* Concept based on The Purple Cow by Seth Godin –

*  *  Excerpts are also available at –



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