The first paper talks of the Toyota culture : the obsessive respect for people (employees) and their welfare, how getting around contradictions is a way of life in Toyota, constantly challenged by nearly impossible tasks, a very understanding management which takes "constructive criticism" in its stride, making Toyota a learning
and thinking organisation for its employees, constantly evolving from one level to another ..
|Akio Toyoda, present Chairman ..|
To train the "Toyota culture" to the new employees in different geographies, Toyota sends in mentors from Japanese plants to these new sites. For this they retain Toyota employees in Japan who are aged more than sixty years too. The Toyoda family which still retains the top positions and takes major decisions in the company holds just 2% of stock. No one dare topple the apple cart ..
Is not the Toyota culture - a system of extreme humility and obeisance to authority, practiced in the plant and outside in their dealings with all other stakeholders, very much a part of the Toyota DNA or way of doing things. Is this not part of the Japanese culture of respect for others and exacting discipline which is evident in all these practices ? Will it not take thousands of years to imbibe this "country-specific" culture ?
One of the innovative programmes they have is - by joining several components into one integrated component, Toyota intends through design and development to reduce costs and add value - the program is Value Innovation.
A very radical vision of Toyota is to make a dream car that will make the air more cleaner, that cannot injure people, prevents accidents, that can make people healthier the longer they drive it, one that can excite, entertain and evoke the emotions of the occupants and one that can drive around the world in just one tank of fuel - in other words making environment, energy, safety and comfort the themes of Toyota's future development.
Toyota is presently obsessed with and trying to be very narrowly focused on improving the value of the product and giving the world the supposedly best product for transporting people from one point to another. In future as how Science evolves, we hear of teleportation and other new concepts picking up. If humanity over the next few decades comes up with a technology that can do away with the need for physical transportation, and thus vehicles to carry humans, how will Toyota survive and what will be the production plans or production lines of Toyota then ?
Having visited the Bidadi, Bangalore, India plant of Toyota Kirlosakar on at least four different occasions with a purely academic mind to grasp and understand Toyota Production systems and the Toyota culture, the two papers were an eye opener for me. A great learning of six years of the authors with the company will be a great experience for me and my students too ..
My research into the Toyota Production system continues ..