The house of Toyota is a perfect representation of a production system being linked together. Each pillar supporting the goals and the entire home resting its weight on a solid foundation. The model has been used for thousands of operating systems over the years and each time the house seems to do the trick more and more effectively. So, what does each of the elements of this house represent in an operating system?
Goals - First and foremost are the goals which are most often shown as the roof, which balances amongst the other elements.
Pillars - Next there are two pillars which balance and hold the goals up. One pillar represents the "just - in - time" while the other is commonly labeled Jidoka. The just-in-time system "supports" the idea that we should always deliver the right part, in the right amount at the absolute most perfect time. But of course, the goals (roof) would come crashing down without the support of quality. That is the Jidoka pillar that is shown on the right. Together quality and effective, efficient production give the goals a place to rest.
Foundation/Stability - So where do the pillars get their strength and support from? The base or foundation as it's often called in construction today represents stability in operations. There is one more element that is surprisingly left out of many models.
People/Culture -The last piece of the puzzle is people. Personally, I've always found the model quite fascinating.
When we stop, and reflect on the home it becomes quite evident that the entire system, organization, operating structure must work together. It is not just a set of tools but rather a culture, a foundation, walls that need maintaining and a roof that must continually be kept in mind. People must continually strive to maintain their home and patch, plaster or touch up pieces that may become damaged. Forget about any one piece of the home and over time it will decay. But if the house is watched over, worked on and regularly inspected it becomes a home that provides safety, shelter and the possibility of expansion.