TPS Benchmarking

Endless Creativity, Inquisitiveness and Pursuit of Improvement

By Jon Miller Published on January 2nd, 2007

In his New Year’s address Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe positions 2007 as a foundation building year. He acknowledges both that Toyota sees not only strong growth in demand for their products but also fierce competition. He calls out not only for innovation but also sticking to the basics:
To that end, Toyota must not only focus its technology development on the environment, safety and energy, but must also remain an exemplary manufacturing company that implements thorough measures concerning quality, cost competitiveness and human resources development. I also want Toyota to be a company imbued with vitality and dignity.
From the point of view of the further advancement of Lean manufacturing, the following is interesting:
In Japan, upgrading of the production lines at the Takaoka Plant will be completed. We are positioning the plant to become Toyota’s base for innovative manufacturing in Japan, employing Toyota’s most-advanced technologies and leading other plants around the world.
I will look forward to seeing those upgrades at Takaoka. The following statement takes the concept of just in time or “what it is needed, when it is needed in the amount needed” to the next logical extension:
Based on the concept of “the right vehicle for the right place at the right time,” Toyota is committed to developing environmental technologies and rolling out environmentally considerate vehicles that are suited to the infrastructure of each region and meet the needs of customers.“Be contributive to the development and welfare of the country by working together, regardless of position, in faithfully fulfilling your duties.”
“Be at the vanguard of the times through endless creativity, inquisitiveness and pursuit of improvement.”
while asking employees to consider these words and contribute to the good of society. In closing Watanabe says:
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity today to call on your further support and guidance in the future.
In Japanese these words would be standard closing comments. Directly translated into English, they seem to be very humble words from the CEO of the world leader in automotive manufacturing. He is asking not only for support but from guidance from his subordinates. Hopefully the readers will take these words at face value and provide this guidance. Toyota would be wise to take it.

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