How Toyota Holds The Tension

Lo stesso argomento di questa volta dal blog di Elegant Solutions…

The news about Toyota’s idling a couple of US plants is obviously big news. But what’s really interesting if you read the various stories (Wall Street Journal front page of Marketplace and USAToday front page of Money, for example) is NOT the flexibility with which they’re adjusting to market conditions, it’s the ELEGANCE with which they’re doing it.

Every story about the shift makes it clear that they’re not laying people off. Of course they’re not. Doing so would not be elegant; rather, simplistic cutting that anyone and everyone can do, and in fact do. Doing less with less, in other words. What Toyota’s doing is holding the tension…NOT cutting, but keeping their associates on, and investing in them, training. They know that elegance is the simplicity on the other side of complexity, complexity which in this case is a befuddled US auto market. The rest of the world, a much bigger place that the US, is what they have their eye on. And the rest of the world has increasing demand.

My bet is the plants will eventually be rejiggered and reopened…for export to the rest of the world. I think James Womack’s comment that “they have a plant and a half more than they need” is shortsighted and US-biased. Toyota is a global company, but the media here, and the people they quote, have US market tunnel vision. Demand for Prius is way up, and capacity to meet that demand is still an issue. And nearly every Toyota vehicle will have a hybrid twin in the next couple of years.

While the rest of industry does less with less…inelegant cost costs and layoffs…Toyota does more with less. In fairness to the rest of industry, Toyota doesn’t have to battle Wall Street, whose so-called analysts and experts have a whole helluva lot to do with general economic woes in the first place. Toyota can take a longview…which allows them to think and learn.

It gets down to this: are you solving today’s problems with today’s or yesterday’s solutions? Or are you solving today’s problems with tomorrow’s solutions? Most of the world is chasing the first. Toyota’s chasing the latter.

And that’s called innovation.


Ciao, sono Dragan Bosnjak e sono qui per guidarti nella scoperta del mondo di lean thinking!

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