Can the Toyota Production System Be Applied To An Animation Studio?

Yes, it sure can.

For your reading pleasure and perusal, may I present the draft version of the white paper that aims to introduce you to the production process that is in many ways, revolutionary.

The Toyota Production System has long been used to streamline workflow processes at the Japanese car manufacturer. Since it’s introduction, it has been transferred to many other kinds of business, even a hospital!

Seeing as an animation studio is also a production outfit, I decided to explore whether TPS could be realistically applied to one. The answer is yes, and this paper is the result of my investigation.

Since it is only the first draft, please feel free to write in, comment, critique, criticise and offer improvements.

You can download a PDF version here.

2 Comments on “Can the Toyota Production System Be Applied To An Animation Studio?

  1. It sounds like a good generally applicable system but with one glaring hole. You’ve heard my thoughts on this but not applied to this particular subject. What happens when there are no notable improvements to be made that elevate one work above the one before? I’m not sure that it’s a feasible longterm strategy in an industry that relies on aesthetics. Ultimately, your storytelling and the looks of the film can only improve for so long until you’ve reached a point where the audience is content with whatever you make to the point that nothing seems like an improvement over what came last. That or the continuous improvement fails on the large market to the point where the people who can relate to more sophisticated work shrinks. It’s a carrot stick that nobody wants to reach.

    Here’s an article about Pixar’s inspiration from Toyota’s production system. So we know of one company that’s already applied it.
    http://www.economist.com/node/16377010

    THere’s some ways to explore the situations where no improvements can be made, but I don’t want to meander too much.

    • Ah, you see that’s the thing, the Toyota Production System focuses only on HOW animation is made, not the content itself. THAT aspect will continue to develop as long as creativity exists. 🙂

      PS. That’s a good article from a great magazine.

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