Expert Interviews

Board of Knowledge Directors

Most companies have a board of directors. is slightly different in that we have a distinguished Board of Knowledge Directors that shape the content of this website.

Tom HaradaTom Harada spent 35 years with Toyota Motor Corporation in a variety of management positions in engineering, production, and maintenance. Tom worked in the engineering staff early in his career at Kamigo engine plant under the tutelage of then plant manager Taiichi Ohno. Tom has also played a key role in the start up of many overseas facilities for Toyota such as Australia, Indonesia, and the United States. Mr. Harada has made many visits to the U.S. to observe and advise lean implementation efforts. “The U.S. focuses too much on logistical issues in lean like value stream mapping and JIT. More emphasis needs to be put on building in quality at the process and utilizing equipment more effectively if you wish to match true TPS.”

Isao "Ike" KatoIsao “Ike” Kato spent 35 years with Toyota Motor Corporation in a variety of management positions in manufacturing, HR, training and development, and supplier development. Early in his career Ike was responsible for guiding external consultant Shigeo Shingo around Toyota facilities. Ike also worked extensively developing training material for TPS under the direction of Taiichi Ohno and other executives. Internally at Toyota Mr. Kato is known as the “father of standardized work and kaizen courses”. If you have ever taken a training class on either of these two topics odds are you were trained by someone that was trained by Mr. Kato or one of his disciples. He is also a master instructor of TWI material. “You can not separate people development from production system development if you want to succeed in the long run”.

Russ ScaffedeRuss Scaffede spent some 20 years with General Motors in a variety of manufacturing positions. Then in 1988 he had the opportunity to join Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, KY, where he became the vice president of Powertrain at the facility. During his time at he worked closely with Mr. Fujio Cho, the eventual President and Chairman of Toyota worldwide. Scaffede credits Mr. Cho for providing him with a grounding in the basics of TPS. One of the lessons Scaffede says he learned from Cho: "TPS is bigger than the individual." In other words, a lean organization is just that: an organization, a group, an array of people who are thinking and acting lean, not just a person or two who has the know-how and the understanding.

Art SmalleyArt Smalley was fortunate to have been one of the few Americans to work for Toyota in Japan for an extended period of time. From working on assembly lines to maintaining precision equipment to project management he experienced all facets of production life in Toyota. Combined with his proficiency in reading and writing the Japanese language he has keen insights on TPS that few in America possess. Subsequent to Toyota, Art was also director of lean for a large U.S. company that underwent a successful lean implementation program. Additionally he spent several years as a lean expert for the international management consulting firm of McKinsey & Company. “There is a decided over-emphasis in the west on simply using the tools of TPS. More attention needs to be applied on solving systemic manufacturing problems that will generate business results”.

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Board of Knowledge Directors