A very interesting article by Art Smalley based on an interview with Mr. Isao Kato: Shigeo Shingo's Influence on TPS. For those interested in the history of the Toyota Production System this article provides some excellent information.
Some background on Isao Kato:
that replaced the Job Methods (JM) part of TWI. Together we summarized Mr. Shingo's material into a training course that we called the ÂP-Course which stood for production and how to analyze a production process. As I mentioned he trained a couple thousand young engineers and managers over a twenty year period. His influence on these people and their subsequent ability to see problems and waste was quite large.
The article does convincingly argue those most responsible include the Toyoda's and then many others inside Toyota such as Ohno.
Additionally the second pillar of TPS of Jidoka dates back to 1902 and the invention by Sakichi Toyoda of his automatic loom that stopped at the sign of a defect. Mr. Ohno came from the automatic loom factory part of Toyota and started separating man from machine and building in quality as soon as he transferred to Toyota's automotive company in 1945...
Thirdly the concept of "respect for workers" inherent in the system is a concept that comes more from the Toyoda family than any other source.
To me (though this may be more my view than the view of the article) the details provided make clear that many people participated in creating the Toyota Production System as we know it today. The article reinforces the role of the Toyoda's (which the recent focus on Ohno and Shingo has downplayed).
However the Toyota Production System as we know it today would exist with just the effort of any several people: not the workers (even Toyota's), not the senior leadership (the Toyoda's), not internal management experts (say Ohno), not engineers (trained by Ohno, Shingo and others), not consultants (say Deming and Shingo), not previous manufacturing experts (Henry Ford). Each group, and the remarkable people involved, participated in making TPS what it is today.
Mr. Kato: Unfortunately not very much. I think it is analogous to the situation with Dr. Demming for example. In the U.S. for many years Demming was ignored and yet widely received in Japan. We invented a famous prize for him. In Shingo's case he is not well known in Japan especially compared to Mr. Ohno. But I believe that Mr. Shingo is somewhat famous in the U.S. and I heard there is even a prize his name.
Art Smalley includes a great deal of additional interesting information.