The lean world has lost one of its greatest minds and architects after the death of Eiji Toyoda this week.

Toyota Motor Corporation issued a statement saying that Mr Toyoda had died due to heart failure on Tuesday. He was 100 years old.

Eiji Toyoda was a member of the motor company’s founding family. Arguably, his biggest legacy will be the production system he designed, which has since been used as a model to increase productivity and minimise waste in manufacturing and production plants the world over.

Despite Mr Toyoda’s age, he remained an honorary advisor to the company up until his recent death.

His passion for the motoring industry was recognised in 1994 when he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

In a statement at the time, he said: “Ever since Toyota’s establishment in 1937, I have been involved in this wonderful business, and as long as my engine keeps running, I intend to give back as much as I can for the industry’s further development.”

He is survived by three sons, Kanshiro, Tetsuro and Shuhei.