206: The Top 12 | The Toyota Way for Achieving Operational Excellence with Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker


Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker spent over 20 years studying the Toyota Way – the management system behind the world’s leading auto manufacturer. He’s since written several world-renowned books summarizing his research and explaining the Lean framework for waste reduction, operational excellence, and continuous improvement.

Those books have collectively sold well over 1M copies and are considered a gold standard in teaching lean operation and management principles in many academic circles around the world. As many organizations continue grappling with the best way to operate post-pandemic, it’s no surprise that this episode is one of our most downloaded.

This is less of an interview and more of a masterclass as Dr. Liker graciously spends time to not only share what The Toyota Way is but also the story of how he became one of the global authorities on this concept.

In this episode, you’ll learn the 14 management principles of The Toyota Way, discover how to use perfection as a direction toward breakthrough results and not an end goal, and gain a better understanding of what operational excellence means and looks like. If you’re serious about operating efficiently and effectively and embracing process improvement as a part of your organization’s culture, then you don’t want to miss these pearls of wisdom!

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: June 12, 2022



  • 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.

Related Episodes


  • Producer & Host: Alicia Butler Pierre
  • Podcast Editor: Olanrewaju Adeyemo
  • Video Editor: Gladys Jimenez
  • Transcription: Jodie Maquiran
  • Sponsor: Equilibria, Inc.


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 55 countries.


More About Sponsor, Equilibria, Inc.:
Equilibria, Inc. is an operations management firm specializing in business infrastructure for fast-growing organizations. Our mission is to provide access to tips, resources, and proven frameworks that revolutionize the way small businesses operate. We do that through original podcast episodes, blog posts, videos, presentations, workshops, and coaching sessions.


Latest Episodes
Get Your Business Infrastructure Book!
Proud Member of the Podcast Academy