Thursday, January 21, 2010

2 Toyota Principles

Having researched the auto industry for several years culminating with a 170+ page MBA thesis (The Hybrid Phenomenon) that exceed expectations by boiling down 1,000 pages of research into publication (The Futurist) after a three year investment that included visiting a Toyota production line in the USA and talking to end users in Japan...

I have boiled Toyota (including lean) down to a few basic principles:

The first is that Toyota is NOT a car company in an industry full of struggling car companies.

Toyoda started out as a loom copmany, so it's DNA started with a very simple high volume low defect rate production system. Manufacturing was simple, few moving parts with empowered machine operator.

The founder's son I believe, started Toyota. He ventured into cars because of his passion. But in Japan, sons almost always obey and respect elders, especially fathers, so the DNA of duplicating simple materials with a low defect rate were transferred to the new subsidiary.

Even Today, almost all of Toyota's car products look similar. For example the shape of the Camry, Corolla and Prius noses share the same lines.

So from the old school Toyoda non-car company DNA, I believe lean was inherited from a simple loom (few moving parts) producing a high volume amount of cloth with almost no defects. A very simple, yet automated process with few moving parts and an operator that stopped the machine anytime a problem arose...

After visiting NUMMI for a factory tour, my second principle became crystal clear. Aside from all the details that follow Japan's DNA of kaizen, Toyota's production line had one SIMPLE process that differed from anything in any production line, let alone the world's largest business (auto and realted industries).

ANY employee, team member, manager, temp, etc. had the ability to STOP THE PRODUCTION LINE for ALMOST ANY RELATIVE REASON!!!

When each second could cost the parent company millions of dollars, why would Toyota build in this stop safe into the world's leading production line?

Let's go back to the loom company (Toyoda) that Toyota really is. Think of machines weaving cloth run by one worker each. When a defect or accident occurred, every yard or meter of cloth thereafter would be ruined. In other words Toyoda, decades before Toyota, learned that stopping the production process immediately yielded higher quality in the longer run.

After all, if anything interfered with the production of a material, it was naturally apparent via the human eye. Lean relies on the operators.

I believe that lean is a HUMAN PROCESS OPPOSING the view of much of the literature and comments above that treat lean as a system of machines and processes.

I disagree with the Western's interpretation of
"lean" and "waste" and "continuous improvement"
from my decade long analysis of the auto industry
and years living in and researching Japan on the ground
as well as visiting NUMMI's production line!

If you want lean, give ANY team member, worker, temp,
employee, partner, supplier, downstream customer, etc.
in exchange for continous change (literal translation of kaiken)
and an acceptance of mistakes for higher quality in the long run.


empowering everyones' mistakes


rewarding short term revenue loss


acceptance of continuous change
(not necessarily improvement)



defined by John Acheson as

"holistic organizational viability"
that values internal and external members
while empowering inwards and delivering
highest quality utility outwards!!!

by John Acheson, CEO, MBA
Author of the Hybrid Phenomenon

PS Did you know???

The Toyota brand is over 500 different companies including a few that build and sell houses in Japan???

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NissanSport's Leaf Analysis

Leaf iPhone UPDATE!!!

showing the benefits of the digital
automaking revolution that is compatible
with our daily digital lives!!!

FOR EXAMPLE we can pull into an electron station
to fill up, walk across the street to have a cup
or tea or coffee while surfing our iPhones or
catching up on email and voice mail while
the cloudy grid works for us and notifies
us when we're full on our iPhone!!!

I wonder if the charging stations
will bring FULL SERVICE BACK???

My 1st job at a full-service gas station
a few miles from where the 1st digital
motorcycle race was just held was my
favorite job to date decades later!!!

I took pride in those days (early 80s)
in offering various grades of fuel and
always asking full service customers
if they would like me to check the oil,
check all four tires including the
windshield washed as well.

With the Leaf we can check the tires,
no oil but maybe fluids and electron levels
and of course the windshield will always need cleaning
no matter a gas guzzler, diesel, sugar burner, hybrid or EV!!!

As I turn over a new leaf from desktop
to mobile iPhone post over hot drink
comfy chair and free wifi...

what could be better than taking
look at another new leaf???

In the words of Ochenreider
Publisher of Nissan Sport
in the Issue 12,

"over a century ago,
electrics ruled sales and
even held land speed records."

it's true and noisy gassers took
some time to venture out beyond
the infant analogue grid to roll
over the cleaner quieter EVs...

Ochenreider writes,
"It may happen once again."

in fact all of Teslas sales are EVs
and records are being broken every
few months at NEDRA races by
the likes of the White Zombie,
Killacycle and other Lithium launchers!!!

But these racecars and roadsters
aren't really using the digital grid
now known as the smart grid...

Turning the page over to the Nissan Leaf
in his mag shows a picture of a dashboard
that's the beginning of the changing game
from pipeline to fiber optic cables...

More simply, networked cars like the Leaf
will tell you when you're running out of
fuel and where to buy it from a grid that
hopes to make the fuel at the cheapest
possible and cleanest way.

Could you imagine if your car told
you when and where to buy gas
to save your wallet and planet
without touching any buttons?

And you don't even need GPS.

Digital automaking takes us into
an era of networked transpo
so things like turning on the
Leaf's AC with your cell phone
are easier than checking facebook.

Kudos to Nissan Sport for showing
us pictures of the first mass produced
networked drivetrain dashboard and
the Lithium pack that many will lease.

This look at the future gives me hope
as billions continued to dream of
owning their first car or truck!

by John Acheson

First mobile post

I'm sitting at Borders with hot chocolate
after driving and hauling in heavy rain
enjoying free wifi on an iPhone 3GS
that has become the tool of choice
for running several online stores.

During this rare break from 24/7
entrepreneurship the wifi and
magazines in comfy chair
have spawned this first
ever mobile blog post!

Let's hope this new leaf
keeps going as we prepare
for the move to EV country!

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Portland, OR, United States
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