The Legacy of Eiji Toyoda

Photograph by Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Eiji Toyoda died on Tuesday at the age of 100, almost 30 years after retiring from active management of Toyota Motor. Like Alfred Sloan and Henry Ford before him, Toyoda was an engineer whose vision dominated the company in its formative years and beyond. He transformed Toyota into a global powerhouse with management and manufacturing processes that transcended the auto industry. Where would we be without kanban, kaizen, muda, and keiretsu, as well as acronyms like JIT (just in time), TQC (total quality control), ZD (zero defects), and TPS (Toyota Production System)?

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