Sitting on an airplane for 12 hours and dealing with a 14 hour time difference will definitely take it out of a person. But after a day of rest (if playing and chasing my 3 kids can be called rest) I am beginning to feel a little more like myself.
I still have lots of notes to review and haven’t even touched my voice recorder which has hours of information on it. Once this process begins I will be sure to share more things with you. But for now, I want to talk about Toyota a little more.
Toyota Production Control Boards
During our visit through the Toyota Kyushi plant we saw numerous electronic production control boards. These boards are in position for all the workers and supervisors to see.
In addition to andon lights showing the status of what is running and not running, there are four numbers displayed on the board.
The first (top left side) is the daily production goal. The second (middle left) displayed how many cars they should have produced up that particular point in time. The third (bottom left) displayed how many cars had actually been produced. The fourth and final number (bottom right) was simply the ratio between actual to plan. This fourth number was a percentage.
97% Efficiency Goal
During our visit the percentage for actual to plan was 98% on one particular line, if I remember correctly. Our Toyota tour guide was quick to explain that their goal is actually 97%. I found this odd. I mean this is Toyota. They are the best. Why then do they not aim for 100%? Someone asked her this question.
She smiled, as if to say she has been asked this before, and explained line stops are actually welcomed rather than discouraged since stopping the line means they are catching problems before they escape to the next process.
So, you see, Toyota never wants to set a goal of 100% as that would then penalyze the workers for doing the very thing they want them to do – stop the line when there is a problem.
Contrast to GM
I have never been in a GM plant and cannot really vouche for what I am about to say. But, during our group discussion after the Toyota visit, it was mentioned by someone that they were once told by a GM supervisor that their goal was to eliminate line stops. If the line stops, the GM supervisor explained, cars are not being made. Perhaps people more familiar with GM can comment if this sounds factual in the comments section below.
Obviously, if this is true, there is a totally different mentality between the Toyota way and the GM way. I will leave up to you which company you want to model yourself after.
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