What Makes Toyota So Formidable
A fictitious fan write:
I'd really like to know what makes Toyota such a juggernaut, but I have ADD and could never finish Taiichi Ohno's book. Is there a single article that I could read to understand what the real secret is? And could it showcase Americans applying the secret so it doesn't appear to be some Japanese cultural mumbo-jumbo?
Well, my friend, today is your lucky day! This Fast Company article does exactly that. Here's the money quote:
"If you go to the Big Three, you'd find improvement projects just like you'd find at Georgetown," says Jeffrey Liker, a professor of engineering at the University of Michigan and author of The Toyota Way, a classic exploration of Toyota's methods. "But they would be led by some kind of engineering group, or a Six Sigma black belt, or a lean-manufacturing guru of some kind.
"They might even do as good a job as they did at [Toyota's Georgetown, KY plant]. But here's the thing. Then they'd turn that project into a PowerPoint. They'd present it at every place in the whole company. They'd say, 'Look what we did!' In a year, that happens a couple of times in a whole plant for the Big Three. And it would get all kinds of publicity in the company.
"Toyota," Liker says, "is doing it in every single department, every single day. They're doing it on their own"--no black belts--"and they're doing it regularly, not just once."
Sounds a lot like When Bad Things Happen To Good Concepts, only better. Do go read the whole thing. The specific examples are stunning; the message crystal clear. But like so many other "secrets", challenge is to make the effort to apply it to your own situation.
[h/t: Rob Patterson]
posted by Mike at 7:55 AM