July 15, 2015
Great minds make great products!
Today I visited, for the second time, the Toyota Kaikan and Toyota Motomachi Production Plant in Toyota City.
The Museum and Exhibition Hall was even more impressive than the last time. The future will tell, but I believe Toyota will come up with a lot of new revolutionary technical products and solutions as the number one car manufacturer in the world. Today everybody talks about Tesla, but Toyota is already producing millions of hybrid cars – every year. Next step is the fuel cell solution shown in the picture bellow.
More or less all companies that produce have a production system based on the Toyota Production System, the core of Lean Production.
Going through the production gives a glint of how effective the TPS is. With a general tact time of 115 sec, the Motomachi production plant delivers one new car every second minute in five different models, all mixed and customer designed. The numbers of variants is huge.
Compare to my last visit, eight years ago, the facilities are the same but the assembly lines seem to be even more compact and the speed of the work faster. Some of the blue collars looked very stressed and there where no time for micro breaks. Off course the Andon stops the line if something is wrong and there is a lot of Poka Yoke solutions, but still there is a fine line between high efficiency and making simple mistakes. And when they show how much final inspection they make, I started to be skeptic. One of the best and most important principles of the TPS is “right from me” and Me as a customer do not want to pay for inspections.
Overall – Toyota is still one of the most impressing companies in the world competing on the hardest market there is and they are doing it very well. To see how they take care of the young school kids and how they try to make the kids love engineering is great, the kids are the ones that will make the great products in the future!
(If you want to visit the Toyota Kaikan it’s just to book a Toyota Plant Tour and take the next flight and train to Toyota City, Nagoya, Japan.)