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For example, you come up with a new idea. The idea costs some money -- not in your budget -- so you go to your boss to seek approval. What is the likelihood that your boss will grant you approval? It is much easier to say No than Yes. No means we continue to do it exactly as we did before.


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Yes is a gamble. With Yes , there is a chance the new idea might not work. But, as Mr. Okuda says, "I don't want you to be an obstacle for someone else who wants to change. So where should new decisions be made and who should make them? Decisions should be made at the point of need. Example: A customer calls your customer service department and needs help. You, the customer service agent, know exactly what to say to please the customer, but you are afraid to make a decision that your boss might not like. It might cost a little bit more money than you are allowed to give. So you tell the customer you can't do it.

The customer gets annoyed and says, "I will never buy from you again," or the customer says, "Let me talk to your supervisor. How does the customer service agent feel that the supervisor has the power to please the customer but he or she does not? The decision should be made by the person with the most knowledge, the person who does the job every day. This is what Conscious Learning is really all about. If we are always learning, then we have more knowledge and power to please our customers.

We can learn, of course, from our experiences, but we can also learn consciously by looking at our organization as an ongoing college. Like a college, there are courses to take, and like college, there is a curriculum to follow. Think a little bit more about Mr.

How toyota Changed the World (Revolutionary Companies)

Okuda's saying about change and start today to find things to change to make your work easier, more interesting and to build your skills and capabilities, and never be an obstacle for someone else who wants to change. Norman Bodek was the former owner of Productivity Inc. Press and is now a writer, publisher and consultant. Achieve success with daily improvement, and don't be an obstacle. Hide comments. More information about text formats. Text format Comments Plain text. Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically. Individual plants thus reported quite different pictures: Since the worldwide economic decline in , two plants had reduced the proportion of non-regular employees to less than 10 percent while two others continued to employ a high percentage of non-regular employees.

As a result, temporary workers now accounted for more than half of shop floor workers. These issues were made more complex by the variety of ways temporary workers were employed. Two of the plants with significant numbers were using agencies to provide them with labour; one-third had moved away from using agencies, reduced the percentage of non-regular employees from 60 percent to between 20 and 30 percent, and was now employing these workers directly.


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  7. Decisions about which approach to take were wrapped up in assessments of demand stability, cost and quality. On the other hand, all of the plants with significant numbers of non-regular workers reported that the dynamic of kaizen continuous improvement that is central to the Japanese manufacturing system was very difficult to maintain under such circumstances, and that the temporary workers generally possessed neither the skills nor the motivation to participate fully and productively in shop floor problem-solving activities.

    Of even greater concern to the managers interviewed than the inability to participate in kaizen were the product quality issues created by employing large numbers of agency workers.

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    One plant manager told us:. It is needed to get a higher percentage of regular workers… [but] the decision is made at the top of the headquarters. Gradually, headquarters has recognized the necessity to increase the ratio of regular workers so now this plant is trying to employ good temporary workers who might become regular workers. The challenges brought by having large numbers of non-regular employees bring also included high turnover. The plants typically reported extremely low levels of labour turnover for core employees, but they often had difficulty with temporary workers, who left after very short periods and well before the end of their three-month contracts.

    Toyota seems to have concluded that the problems created by temporary workers may outweigh the cost advantages.

    II. Respect for People

    As Table 2 below shows, though the ratio of non-regular to regular employees in Toyota has grown, it peaked in and has been declining rapidly in the last two years in both actual and relative terms. Part of this picture is explained by the fact that some temporary workers are offered regular employment opportunities. Both the component suppliers and Toyota reported having taken on non-regular employees. In fact, press reports suggest Toyota has done so in significant numbers, with Toyota Kyusyu re-employing more than 1, agency workers as regular workers Nihon Keizai Shinbun, 16 th August There was a more consistent pattern across the plants with regard to compensation systems.

    In each case the plants employed a form of the traditional nenko system, which rewards employees based on a combination of seniority, capability and performance.

    Lessons from Toyota’s Long Drive

    All of the automotive systems suppliers reported some individual performance-related component to the salary of their regular shop floor workers, but this was typically still a fairly small percentage of the total. Every January the union requests increases in each item in the Table and there is a wage determination process in March through the spring wage negotiation.

    As in other plants, any changes in the payment system at Toyota require negotiation between management and union. While the plants were all struggling in varying degrees with drops in market demand and the movement of more car assembly overseas, they all reported that they were committed to the concept of lifetime employment for their core employees. As noted above, labour turnover was generally negligible and the average length of service was between eight and 20 years across the five plants.

    The deployment or managed reduction of agency workers was a deliberate strategy in each case, driven, at least in part, by the desire to preserve core-worker employment. In at least one case, the company had brought back in-house work it had previously sub-contracted out to local Japanese second-tier suppliers. This enhanced their negotiating power with regard to parts prices and increased the amount of value-added work undertaken; another benefit for the firm was that there was work for its regular employees. Given the economic problems of the country over such an extended period, the unemployment figure has remained remarkably stable and relatively low.

    Of course, as discussed above, Japan has a segmented labour market, and the ageing demographic profile of the country has also contributed to these figures. In summary, the tendency amongst Toyota and the supplier companies has been to draw back from experiments with more individualized HR systems and to concentrate on sustaining the established mutual commitment between core employees and employer. That said, dealing with expanding internationalization and the global economic crisis has led some firms to increasingly rely on temporary employees, thus heralding a deepening difference between core and periphery in labour markets.

    This has created some difficulties for firms, especially in maintaining the kaizen system. In at least one case, the company had needed to redouble its internal kaizen training efforts. TPS is a mainstay of business-school case studies, as well as being widely imitated by envious rivals. The system is about efficiency in all its forms, from the constant tracking of components kanban to the fault-reporting system andon , which dates back to Toyota Industries founder Sakichi Toyoda's early days making looms.

    The process of constant improvement is known as kaizen. Toyota has this down to a fine art, employing kaizen teams to roam the factory and scout for potential problems and possible efficiencies. On posters, shirts and tabards, the plant's official mascot - a cartoon horse called Tsutsuma-Kun - preaches health and safety.


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    In the adjoining building, stamped-steel Prius bodies are assembled robotically, using conventional welding and lasers as well as a secret proprietary method that WIRED wasn't allowed to photograph. Today, the 1, robots at Tsutsumi are sourced from one of three main suppliers: Nachi, Yaskawa and Kawasaki. As the body shells roll into position, a cluster of around ten closely spaced robotic arms swivel and pivot in a synchronised dance that is simultaneously beguiling, awe-inspiring and terrifying.

    Then they all lurch forward at once, finding the pinch points where two pieces join, then dab and squeeze their welding pincers along the seams to seal them. Each stage takes just under a minute, before the arms retract and the line rolls on. Large components are sent straight to the line by a system of overhead wires and gravity-driven palettes. At the same time, a constant stream of electric trains bring the rest along a miniature road system of intersections and stop signs. The building is a chorus of whirring ratchets, beeping trucks, buzzing drills, the rattle of conveyor belts and pulleys and the hum of the air-conditioning.

    The sheer volume of Priuses being built here speaks of its achievement. For two decades, no car has done more to alter the public perception of the hybrid automobile and to pave the way for electric vehicles. Black Priuses, thanks to Uber, have become ubiquitous on the streets of capital cities. They are verbal shorthand for generic, efficient, classless transportation. The Prius's job is, in many ways, complete.

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    How Toyota Makes Money: Vehicle Sales, Financial Services and More

    Toyota is now working on another vehicle - one that has the potential to change our relationship with cars all over again. S hoichi Kaneko is deputy chief engineer on the fourth-generation Prius, which launched in Slight, spiky haired and nervous, he explains the new model's genesis, his enthusiasm growing as he does so.

    It sold very well, both in Japan and overseas," Kaneko says.

    The latest Prius also has the most radical look yet. Prius means "superior" in Latin.