Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Toyota Kirloskar gets ISO 21000 certification in Food Quality !!

Toyota Kirloskar Motors Ltd Bidadi near Bangalore India made great news by end of May 2018 when they announced that they had secured the ISO 21000 2005 certification for Food Quality and Safety Management System.

Naturally everyone would be interested in knowing what motivated Toyota to go for this challenging ISO certification in food processing ?

All of us know about the core competency theory as a harmonised combination of multiple resources and skills that distinguish a firm in the marketplace and becomes a foundation for establishing the company's competitiveness.(click here to know more). The core competency theory was proposed by late Prof C K Prahlad of the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan with Gary Hammel in 1990. For example, General Electric's core competence is in high technology electrical and mechanical parts, that of IBM is in the area of computation.

Core competency theory, Late Prof. C K Prahlad,
pic courtesy Bizztro ..
One of the propounders of the core competency theory, Prof. Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahlad studied Physics at Loyola Chennai ('60), went to IIM Ahmedabad for a Management degree and finished with a DBA from Harvard Business School in 1975. His initial stint of 4 years with Union Carbide in India was responsible for many of his path breaking thoughts in the Management field.

What we observe in Toyota is a deviation from the core competency of Toyota in automobile production. 

1. Toyota's core competence is in world-class automobile manufacturing. Why did they go for certifying their food preparation and safety management system which is a major deviation from their core competence area of automobile manufacturing ?

2.  Maintaining Food Quality and Safety Management system is a major task all by itself. Why did Toyota have to undertake this additional burden on itself when it is very clearly evident it is not going to give them any cost advantage or market advantage ?

As an answer to the above two questions, the only options available before us is to understand what constitutes lean in the first place.

1. Lean is all about improving value to the end customer, reducing wastes and in the end reducing costs to the manufacturer or service provider. Poor quality food reduces employee efficiency and working morale.

2. Lean is also very much concerned with having great concern for their employees, nurturing them, guiding, hand holding and enabling them to reach greater potential. Offering them great quality food is part of the game ..

3. There is great scope of learning for the rest of the world to from the much acclaimed Toyota Production System as to how they can reduce wastes in food processing from the procurement, preparation, processing to consumption stages. 

4. Toyota is very much concerned with continuous improvement or Kaizen, enabling better food processing systems in the future.

5. It will also be an eye opener for the rest of the major food processing companies of the world to learn how to manage food raw material suppliers and the raw materials supply chain. 

6. This is also likely to bring Toyota innovations and concepts like SMED, Poka yoke, Jidoka to the food manufacturing supply chain for the benefit of the global food processing industry.

There is thus great scope for the rest of the world to learn and benefit from the selfless Toyota experience of providing not only the best workplace and work environment for the employees, but also the best food preparation standards and environment as an additional bonus.
Naturally what we Indians are interested in knowing is  - whether ISO 21000 is special only to Toyota Kirloskar plant in Bidadi, Karnataka India or do all Toyota plants across the world have similar food quality certification standards as an extra step to perfection in Lean manufacturing and to show genuine concern for the employees of the organisation ?

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