Saturday, April 01, 2017

Toyota Way at Toyota Kirloskar plant at Bidadi, Bangalore, India.

What makes Toyota the global top automobile brand ? In 2016 Toyota's 10.2 million automobiles automobile production globally was just slightly behind and very close to Volkswagen's 10.3 million automobiles. (click here for the Forbes Report) It is their unique production philosophy and outlook on life which makes Toyota click.

This article is a writeup on Toyota's Indian operations and how Toyota is planning to make the Bidadi plant (click here for the video on how Toyota Etios is being made) as one of it's top production sites in the world.

Toyota Automobiles, Japan started manufacturing operations in India as a collaborative effort with Kirloskar in 1997 in India in Bidadi, near Bangalore, Karnataka. The first vehicle of the  Qualis brand, a Multi-Use-Vehicle (MUV), rolled out by 2000. Qualis was a runaway success for Toyota in India. It was so popular, that this initial high quality manufacturing pitch prepared the right environment and acceptance among Indians of Toyota quality and great Toyota vehicles to be introduced in India.

Even though Qualis production was stopped in 2005, the vehicle is still seen on Indian roads twelve years after its withdrawal from Indian markets and introduction elsewhere in the world. The initial Qualis success saw the introduction of many Toyota brands like Innova, Corolla, Camry, Fortuner and Toyota's special product for the Indian market, Etios and Etios Liva.

The following steps will demonstrate the commitment by the management of Toyota Japan through this plant of Toyota in India to ensure high standards of environmental consciousness practiced in the plant. As claimed by Toyota Bidadi, this is one of the most advanced plants of Toyota in the world and includes great environmental sustainability and solar energy initiatives in the plant. Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) Bidadi, India produces only 3,20,000 cars annually, producing 3 % of its global production.

First let us start with some of the great environmental and social steps initiated by Toyota which have been initiated in India, along with some of the other production sites in Japan. 

Monozukiri - manufacturing in harmony with the environment has been the guiding light behind Toyota's environmental sustainability initiatives. 

Environmental Sustainability initiatives :

1. Recycling of Water  - the water for daily consumption in the canteen, gardens, wash rooms, etc. are all recycled with the help of a water recycling plant that recycles 60% of all treated effluent. Only water for cooking and drinking is taken from outside. High volume Rainwater harvesting plant of 25,000 cubic metres captures rainwater using it for plant needs for 4 months and supplements the efforts at conserving use of water.

2. Minimise waste and implementation of 5S - the basic philosophy of lean is to minimise waste and orderliness to the shopfloor.  Minimising the eight wastes in the plant is Toyota motto (as is the guiding principle of Toyota philosophy, presently renamed as Lean manufacturing)

3. Transition to solar energy - a 3 MW solar plant now meets less than 50% of the power needs in the plant which Toyota is planning to increase to meet 50% of the plant energy needs by 2020 and is working to meet 100% energy needs by solar energy by 2035. 

A view of final assembly line, courtesy Malayala Manorama.
4. Solar sludge drying for drying and safe disposal of hazardous wastes produced inside the plant, based on the superior co-processing technology adopted by major corporations across the world has helped Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) reduce its carbon footprint

5. Reducing CO2 emissions - Using route optimisation, the supply of spare parts to the various distribution centres across the country using LCVs having only 20% space utilisation was shifted to smaller vehicles ensuring 80% space utilisation. This helped TKM save 10.3 T of CO2 emission and saving INR 3,00,000 a year.

6. The bio-gasifier plant inside the factory premises handles daily 1.5 tonnes of food waste generated in the TKM canteen and converts it into 100-120 cu.m of biogas, a non-polluting renewable source of energy, saving 40-50 kg of LPG consumption a day and generating app 140 kg of solid manure daily used in the gardens..

7. Use of racks from suppliers while supplying spare parts reduces packaging.- Toyota may the first in the country to use this unique style of taking delivery of items from suppliers. Usually spare parts come in  paper or plastic packaging and once the parts are used in the assembly the packing material is waste that needs to be properly reused, recycled or destroyed. Toyota has come up with the unique method where by the suppliers are sent spare parts racks by Toyota which are filled by the suppliers and sent to Toyota. After the spare parts are used, these empty racks are again sent to the suppliers who fill them and return it to Toyota with new spare parts. The cycle continues saving large amounts of waste packing materials.

8. Toyota is the first company in India to use water based paints the company was the first to use water based paint, even though it was costlier, it is environment friendly. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) that float around in the paint shop as the paint solvent vapourises, is a major health hazard. Water based paints are a great initiative from Toyota to reduce VOC emissions and build healthy workplaces.

9. Planting 2.5 lakh saplings inside the 432 acres Bidadi campus of TKM has helped bring back green cover and oxygen.

10. Toyota's great emphasis on ensuring safety - The customary Toyota hand gestures (pointing the right hand fingers sequentially to the front, left and right sides, ensuring there are no vehicles or people coming from any of these directions, before crossing any road, is a classical exercise which would catch the attention of any visitor to Toyota premises). In fact, visitors at the plant are given brief instructions on the safety precautions practiced on the shop floor, before they are allowed to visit the shop floor. Even while walking along corridors, visitors are given instructions to keep themselves to the left side. Toyota corridors are safe passageways for employees..
All Toyota cars came with dual air bags across all models, with 100 per cent anti-lock braking system and was awarded four star in the Global NCAP crash test.

Social initiatives : 

11. Gurukul, the learning centre. All of the employees who join Toyota are mostly unaware of the Toyota philosophy (or lean thinking). They are compulsorily made to take a 5 day primer course at the Gurukul. The Gurukul also gives training to the employees on maintaining good health and teaches safety precautions while inside the plant.

12. Toyota Technical Training Institute (TTTI) - established in 2007 as part of Toyota's Corporate Soial Responsibility Initiative (CSR) about 40 selected students after their 10th or 12th are given intense training for almost three years before they are inducted into the Toyota production line.

The unique nature in which Toyota differs from the rest oif the manufacturing world is the way in which they plan their manufacturing. While usually organisations make a demand forecast and try to plan to meet this demand, Toyota is one of the few companies in the world that manufactures to meet customer demand.

Takt time - production according to customer demand. Even though the Toyota assembly line is capable of a minimum takt time of 67 secs (ie. in a shift the maximum production possible from the line working 480 minutes in a shift is (480 x 60) / 67 = 430 units) depending on customer demand this varies. Toyota produces only to meet actual customer demand, not future potential customer demand. Presently the takt time is 465 seconds on the second advanced plant, ie. 62 units of automobiles of different brands a shift.

Were it not for the innovative manufacturing style initiated by Toyota, we would not have been blessed with some of the finest quality cars in the world today. As a tribute to the founding fathers of Toyaota a Visit to Toyota Hall is a must for all visitors visiting Toyota plant anywhere in the world. All visitors are explained the Toyota way of life in the Toyota Hall where every visitor gets to see an exhibition of pictures that highlight the birth of the company in Japan in 1939, its founders and key leaders, besides a power point presentation of the Toyota highlights and Toyota Production. 

Click for my earlier writings on Toyota , Ten points to some great learning and the other one on Lean Manufacturing at Toyota Bidadi ..

While the first assembly line of Toyota assembles the older versions of Fortuner, Innova, Camry etc, the modern second assembly line assembles Etios, Liva and Corolla Altis. Corolla is by the way, the automobile model which has sold almost 37 million numbers throughout the world and is the largest selling automobile model in the world from any auto manufacturer.

Bidadi plant of Toyota has an annual capacity of assembling 3,20,000 vehicles, though it is still  pain as Toyota still imports the engine, power transmission and gear box from plants around the world as they are not yet sure whether the workforce in India would be able to match up with the high standards of quality and excellence attained by Toyota around the world. This also partly explains why, after importing automobile components taking up almost 70% value of the final automobile, Toyota is not able to gets its cars on Indian roads at less than Rs 7 lakhs on-road price, while other low end Japanese, German, Korean and French manufacturers like Honda, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Renault, Hyundai are able to offer cars at less than or near about Rs 5 lakhs.

Click here for the link in Malayalam from the Malayalam newspaper Malayala Manorama, an excellent piece. Having been associated with Toyota Bidadi and teaching Lean Manufacturing at a prominent University In  Bangalore, I can say that this is really a great article on the Toyota Way of Lean Manufacturing. In the article, you find lean is not a just a manufacturing philosophy for Toyota, it is a life philosophy.

Toyota having built their most advanced automobile plant in India also speaks volumes of the importance Toyota attaches to this great and most ancient economy of the East, which has already pushed Japan to the fourth position and is the third largest economy of the world.

References : 
1. Toyota Kirloskar takes steps to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions, The Hindu, Business, 28 Dec 2016 
PS - 1. the author teaches Lean Manufacturing at Alliance University, Bangalore, India. He can be reached at 
2. Technological Innovation especially in energy area has helped India advance in critical areas of energy application. India's advanced expertise in the solar technology application area cannot be demonstrated any better than with the help of the world's first and only 100% solar energy powered, energy neutral International airport, a super critical application, fully functional and operational in Kochi, Kerala, India (the third largest airport in the country with 1.5 million sq ft area handling 9 million passengers annually) for the past twenty months without occurence of any accident or untoward event. Click for the link here...

1 comment:

  1. Excellent article Sir!!

    These are some very true points about the Bidadi plant. Toyota being Yokogawa's global customer, I have had few opportunities to visit Toyota as part of my official commitments and I did feel privileged to have experienced their working environment in particular their calm and smooth operations. Toyota is of course a wonderful company where quality is embedded in its people starting from the security gate. There is no better organization in this world to study more about lean concepts than Toyota.


Ambani and cautious days ahead for Indian economy

Reliance is planning slowly to be a zero debt company by 2020.  As an overtly safe move from India's richest man, is it reflective of...

My popular posts over the last month ..