159: The Toyota Way for Achieving Operational Excellence: A Masterclass with Jeffrey Liker, Ph.D.


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When Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker began working at the University of Michigan, he was asked to be part of a research team to study American and Asian car manufacturers. One company stood out – Toyota. He then spent the next 20 years studying the Toyota Way – the management system responsible for them becoming the world’s leading manufacturer.

His first book, Becoming Lean, summarized his research and introduced the Lean framework for waste reduction, operational excellence, and continuous improvement. That was in 1997 and it sold 40k copies in the first six months. Fast forward 24 years and the second edition of his The Toyota Way book sells over 1M copies in the first six months!

This is less of an interview and more of a masterclass! Lessons include:
1) A summary of the 14 management principles of The Toyota Way,
2) Using perfection as a direction toward breakthrough results and not an end goal, and
3) What operational excellence means and looks like, and much more!

Find out why Dr. Liker says operations leaders should prioritize the underlying philosophy and scientific thinking of Lean over deciding which tools to use. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from the award-winning author of the definitive guide on Lean production!

Special Guest: Dr. Jeffrey Liker, Founder & CEO – Liker Lean Advisors and International Bestselling Author of The Toyota Way

Location: Ann Arbor, MI  USA

Air Date: July 25, 2021



  • Liker Lean Advisors: a advisory firm with a consortium of talented, experienced consultants who possess the change management skills necessary to successfully apply Lean methods and principles. Specifically, they are adept at applying these methods and principles in manufacturing as well as service industry, office administration, and product development environments.
  • Lean Enterprise Institute: a non-profit organization with a “…mission to make things better through lean thinking and practice.” The LEI offers educational workshops, online courses, videos, conferences and other resources based on research and practical information rooted in the lean philosophy.
  • Shingo Prize: an award issued by the Shingo Insitute, named after Total Quality Management (TQM) pioneer, Dr. Shigeo Shingo. The Shingo Prize is considered as the world’s highest standard for organizational excellence. Dr. Liker is the recipient of 13 Shingo Prizes.




  • Minitab: a statistical processing software offering a variety of calculations and tools for Lean and Six Sigma project implementation.
  • QI Macros: a statistical processing software offering a variety of calculations and tools for Lean and Six Sigma project implementation.

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  • Writer, Producer & Host: Alicia Butler Pierre
  • Podcast Editor: Olanrewaju Adeyemo
  • Video Editor: Gladys Jimenez
  • Transcription: Outsource Global
  • Sponsors: HubSpot, ThinkSmart Whiteboard


More About Guest, Dr. Jeffrey Liker:
Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker is a former Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Operations Engineering at the University of Michigan. He’s also a professional speaker and advisor through his company Liker Lean Advisors, LLC – a network of associates that teach and consult in the Toyota Way. He is the author of the first and second editions of the international best-seller, The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer, published by McGraw Hill in 2004 and 2021, respectively.

In 2018, Dr. Liker co-authored Designing the Future: How Ford, Toyota, and Other World-Class Organizations Use Lean Product Development to Drive Innovation and Transform Their Business with Jim Morgan. He’s also authored three books focused on the people side of lean: Toyota Talent: Developing Exceptional People the Toyota Way (with David Meier), Toyota Culture: The Heart and Soul of the Toyota Way (with Michael Hoseus), and The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership (with former Toyota managing officer Gary Convis).

Dr. Liker’s articles and books have won thirteen Shingo Prizes for Research Excellence and The Toyota Way also won the 2005 Institute of Industrial Engineers’ Book of the Year Award and the 2007 Sloan Industry Studies Book of the Year Award. In 2012, he was inducted into the Association of Manufacturing Excellence Hall of Fame and the Shingo Academy in 2016.



More About Host, Alicia Butler Pierre:
Alicia Butler Pierre is the Founder & CEO of Equilibria, Inc. Her career in operations began over 20 years ago while working as an engineer in various chemical plants and oil refineries. She invented the Kasennu™ framework for business infrastructure and authored, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success.  It is the world’s first published book on business infrastructure for small businesses. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure podcast with a global audience across 53 countries.



More About Sponsor, HubSpot:
HubSpot offers a full platform of marketing, sales, customer service, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software — plus the methodology, resources, and support — to help businesses. Their CRM platform is powered by the same database, so everyone in your organization — Marketing, Sales, Service & Operations — is working off the same system of record. This allows for a smoother handoff between teams and results in a more delightful experience for your customers.



More About Sponsor, ThinkSmart Whiteboard:
Thinksmart Whiteboard is a Windows App that turns your Tablet PC into a shared whiteboard. It allows you to create a whiteboard on your computer screen, then allows other people to write onto your whiteboard, even if they are in another location! Learn more.

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