The lean labour process: Global diffusion, societal effects, contradictory implementation

Christopher Smith, Matt Vidal

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In the 1930s, engineers at Toyota began to work on adapting Fordist mass production to the conditions in Japan at the time: a small market that could not justify huge volumes with dedicated machinery, coupled with severe resource constraints. Their goal was to develop a production system based on lower volumes with low inventories. Toyota didn’t implement its first compete just-in-time system until 1958, and was not able to fully debug its kanban (continuous flow) system until 1962, after which it was adopted companywide (Tolliday 1998). Core elements of what became the Toyota Production System were widely adopted across Japanese industry, although companies such as Nissan, Honda, NEC and others adopted the practices selectively and integrated them into their own systems (Boyer 1998; Freyssenet et al. 1998; Kenney and Florida 1993).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Lean Organization
EditorsThomas Janoski, Darina Lepadatu
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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