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Adventures in TPS Learning

Jan 24, 2014 | Posted by Ben Thompson


Life can have a funny way of knocking on your door and unexpectedly waking within you passions you never knew you had. Hello world, my name is Benjamin H. Thompson and I would like to share with you the beginning of my training as a student of TPS, the Toyota Production System. A little background information on myself to start, I am a student at the University of Toronto majoring in Philosophy and Biochemistry. Like many students in the midsts of my schooling I found myself wondering where I was headed and ended up taking some time away from classes to earn some money to further fund my education. I soon found myself also taking a few certification courses to obtain entry level positions in the health care industry. At this point in time I decided to focus on a career in medicine, but being a young man of many interests an uncertainty still loomed in my mind. It was during this sabbatical, for lack of a better term, that I met my current friend, mentor and boss Matt Elson.

Matt was an intriguing individual whom grasped my attention quite quickly. We met at a mutual friends destination wedding striking up a variety stimulating conversations that ranged anywhere from a philosophical nature to the innovations in sciences to date, social and economic events throughout history, etc. Time built a camaraderie between us, and as a product of our various conversations I had a vague understanding of what Matt‘s profession as a consultant consisted of. He had mentioned the Toyota Production System and spoke of his consulting firm True North Thinking Inc. I remember he had reiterated a passion to “Change the world, one Kaizen at a time!”

Then at one particular event, I believe it was an easter party our mutual friend was throwing in Toronto, Matt had flattered me with the compliment that he “saw a lot of himself in me”. He spoke of an aptitude he felt I may have, an aptitude that he felt was crucial to being a student of TPS, a mental pliability I believe he called it. With that he encouraged the idea that we meet at a more appropriate time and setting to discuss further the idea of starting me in his firm as an intern. It was not but a few days later we met up both eager to feel out and discuss this prospect.

It was a casual meeting at a local watering hole, Matt brushed over the broad ideas and goals he had in mind for business and manufacturing. He spoke of healthy approach to implement the values of TPS everywhere and anywhere, to improve the economy in Canada and the world. Leaving me with a small stack of literature on the two pillars of TPS and an invitation to join him on this journey, Matt had me baited and set the hook. I was from this point on a student of TPS, and an advocate of his creed that the world could be saved, one Kaizen at a time!

I will continue to document my journey as a student of TPS in this blog, so please point your gaze True North and join me on this adventure into the future of constant improvement of self and society with True North Thinking Inc. !

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