I finally found a copy of the book “40 Years, 20 Million Ideas: The Toyota Suggestion System” by Yuzo Yasuda and I did have not pay the going rate at Amazon (starting at $198 used) to read it. One of our new production managers owns a copy and he graciously lent me his copy to read. (Thanks, Gene!) It is a very good book, and I’d love to have my own copy, but not at the current price range. It’s good, but not that good.

As pointed out in Mark Graban’s recent post on his Lean Blog, The 20 Things a Supervisor Should Not Say, there are plenty of interesting points found in this book.

One of the more interesting pieces I read is a part talking about Toyotaism. According to the book, the original Toyotaism was written in 1935 as the “spiritual foundation of the entire company”. As written in this book, Toyotaism is …

“With harmony between supervisors and workers, with sincere devotion to work, strive to help your industry and your country reap the fruits of progress.

By studying and developing your creativity, always anticipate the treads of the times.

Be on your guard against showing luxury, while making effort to be more frugal and courageous.

While maintaining a warm and friendly attitude, improve the atmosphere in your own home.

Have respect for the Gods and the Buddhas, always repay a kindness, and show gratitude.”

According to the author, this version of Toyotaism lasted until 1989 when it was revised to the following:

“Always think of the customer first; considering the basics of manufacturing, always making products that are outstanding for their high quality, low cost and technical excellence.

With a foundation of mutual trust between labor and management, cheerfully make progress as a company highly valuing creativity.

Stimulate Toyota activities everywhere, inside and outside the company, while cooperating to expand business.

Contribute to expanding our economy and building up a better living environment for our society by doing business actively all over the world.

Strive to improve yourself through self enlightenment, constantly on the alert for any new social or market trends.”


After reading and re-reading these points, I continue to be fascinated by the depth and scope found in these points of Toyotaism. Very interesting, indeed!

About the author:
Mike Wroblewski started his lean journey with instruction in quick die change from Shigeo Shingo. Mike is currently the lean sensei at Batesville Casket Company in Batesville, Ind. He also writes a blog called “Got Boondoggle?” featuring lean and Six Sigma topics. Check it out at http://gotboondoggle.blogspot.com/.