Ohno was one of the masterminds behind just-in-time at Toyota, which he summed up by saying “If the meaning of production control is truly understood, inventory control is unnecessary.” He was responsible for major changes in organisational terms – both within Toyota and its suppliers.

The essentials of the systems he introduced were the regulation of production flows by the pull of the market (and by extension back through the plant – by the next process), visible signals on the shop floor for conditions requiring action (e.g. Kanban) and small batch sizes without prejudice to cost by exploiting the work of Shigeo Shingo in minimising time lost through changeovers and in the introduction of Poka-Yoke or mistake-proofing of processes.

These advances taken together, plus many more too detailed for reference here, make up what is known as The Toyota Production System. The impetus towards Lean Production or World Class Manufacturing in the West is a fitting compliment to the power of the Toyota system on which it is modelled, and therefore to its main architect, Taiichi Ohno.