Toyota is all about cars and trucks, right? Not quite. I was just pointed to the Toyota Home page on Toyota’s website, which briefly describes Toyota’s activities in the home building industry. This could be interesting. Applying the lean manufacturing methods of the Toyota Production System, by the company that understands it the best, to a large-scale high mix low volume (HMLV) product.
"Lean Construction" is not really new… there’s a long-established Lean Construction Institute. Much of the research at LCI focuses on the project management aspects, which are critical for such large "products". And we should also give credit to one of the innovators in applying Lean to large-scale products… Boeing. That company developed moving production lines that build the planes, all marching to a defined takt time.
Lean has been applied to many non-traditional areas… healthcare, government, and more. Each has unique characteristics, however the common component is a focus on eliminating waste in the process.