On July 21, Toyota marked an important moment in history when Taiichi Ohno was inducted in the 2022 Automotive Hall of Fame. Ohno, a Japanese engineer and former Toyota executive, helped establish the fabled Toyota Production System (TPS), which revolutionized not only the Japanese automotive industry, but global vehicle manufacturing as well.
Ohno spent much of his career training and consulting suppliers and employees on his revolutionary manufacturing process. Ohno left us with three books outlining his revolutionary philosophies: Toyota Production System (1978), Workplace Management (1984), and Just-in-Time for Today and Tomorrow (1988).
In video remarks shown at the ceremony, Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda said the “father of TPS” was “both a pioneer in our industry and one of the most important figures in the story of Toyota.”
Ohno, who began his career in 1932 at the Toyota automatic loom company, eventually went to work for Akio Toyoda’s grandfather Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of the Toyota automotive company.
Chris Nielsen, executive vice president of product support and chief quality officer for Toyota Motor North America, attended the event in Detroit, saying: “TPS has not just transformed automotive manufacturing; its reach goes far beyond and knows no bounds in having a positive effect on society.
“From food banks and hospitals to social services and federal, state and local government agencies, society at large has benefitted from TPS and will continue to do so. Ohno-san’s innovations are as relevant today as they were when he first conceived them more than 70 years ago.”
Hall of Fame Inductees
Widely considered the single greatest honor an individual can receive in the automotive industry, induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame is reserved for noteworthy individuals whose efforts have helped shape the automotive and mobility market.
In addition to Ohno, this year’s inductees also included:
- Alma and Victor Green, authors and publishers of The Green Book, a travel guide for Blacks traveling America.
- Lu Guanqiu, a Chinese entrepreneur and trailblazer, who evolved Wanxiang from a local bicycle repair shop in the 1960s to a global supplier. Wanxiang was the first Chinese company to sell automobile parts to American OEMs and now has operations in 22 states in the U.S.
- Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Italian entrepreneur who created the iconic Lamborghini line of luxury performance sports cars.
Lyn St. James, a true pioneer in advancing women’s participation in the automotive and racing worlds. She was the first woman to win the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award in 1992 and competed in a total of 15 IndyCar races over nine years.
Originally published July 22, 2022