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Archive for November 15th, 2006

Visit Toyota Tsutsumi plant

Posted by smeding on 15 November, 2006

Details about Toyota, see profile.Toyota
Photo’s of visit; see www.smeding.org/gallery2 (unfortunately no process and machine photo’s were allowed.)

Focus of visit was Toyota Production System (TPS)

Toyota is not an ‘open company’. The factory tour was only 50 minutes where “daily visitors” could already visit the welding shop, paint shop and assembly lines to the extend of 2,5 hours.
We were only allowed to see the assembly line in a very rapid time, no photo taking and no talking with operators and team leaders. Also the Q&A session after the visit was disappointing, the production manager and others who attended were very reserved in there answers. The main reason was that some of our group members were related directly our indirectly with the car industry in Europe.

The visit to the Toyota Customer Centre and the presentation about TPS in the afternoon compensated a lot. The info centre, new developments, explanations of principles, and a very good presentation and very open Q&A session with Mr. Kiuma, the President of the Toyota Support Centres. Mr. Kiuma lead in the past for several years the TSC in Brussels.
The basics of the Toyota success and the pillars of the system are shown in a more detailed presentation I made.

What we have seen in the assembly factory was in line with the principles they presented us;

  • JIT is practised extensively by the use of KanBan, in the whole supply chain, from 1st tier supplier, via welding shop, painting and component and part sets manufacturing, the material flow is controlled by KanBan. The only exceptions are the moulding and casting parts which are produced in batches.
  •  Toyota is not outsourcing globally.
    Domestic they have appr. 20 manufacturing plants, 8 of them are assembly plants, the rest are component production and assembly plants, delivering to the assembly plants.
    They benchmark there own plants regularly with global suppliers, if there is a gap they startup Kaizen activities to fill the gap.
  • Jidoka, build in quality control is also implemented extensively, if a problem occurs the andon (visualizing Andonboardwhere problem is) activates, if the problem is not solved within the takttime the process stops.
  • with Kaizen-Circles they improve continuously the processes and solve problems back to the root, everything of the activity is visualized on only a few A4 or A3 papers. (In whole Toyota organization they had in 2005 more then 600.000 kaizen proposals, of which more then 60% were implemented. Often by the operators and team leaders themselves, or with help of the support centre.
  • New product developments are taking approximately half of the time as in Europe. Main reasons are extensive knowledge management (everything is evaluated and registered very detailed) and they ‘copy and make better’, 80% of a new car consists of existing parts!
  • The operating income of Toyota is quiet stable for years around 9%, this is not extraordinary, but they realize this also in ‘bad’ times, by reacting quickly on changing situations. The inventory turnover of the Tsutsumi plant is with appr. 200 extremely high, also the 1st tier suppliers, who are mainly owned by Toyota, have a high turnover, the stocks are moved upstream to the 2nd tier and further suppliers.

I made a more detailed report about the impressions and learnings during all the visits, and I made a powerpoint presentation explaining the Toyota Production System (TPS). Both are available on request. Pillars


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