After the unique dojo learning on Day 1, today we were pleased to see the principles in action at 2 world-class manufacturing facilities. The first stop was a major automotive plant where 1,600 vehicles are produced each day by approximately 5,000 team members. Our group shared widespread appreciation as we walked above the production floor and took in the operational symphony below us. Key elements that stood out were the delivery tugs, the tools & components trolleys at each workstation, and the small parts supermarket. Everyone was impressed to watch the engagement of the team leaders working directly in the process alongside their team members. A key takeaway point from the visit was the fact that 80% of the suppliers are located within 1 – 2 hours, making Just-in-Time deliveries and supplier development highly feasible. The learning continued with a stop at the Toyota Kaikan exhibition center where we were treated to a view of their innovation plans and models of the future. We shared a delicious lunch and made our way to a key parts supplier in the Toyota family.
Our afternoon visit began with a presentation from the president where he shared the company’s unique operating history, defined by the long-standing relationship with Toyota. As the relationship was beginning in the late 1930’s, the president of Toyota at the time was quoted as saying, “There will be trials and tribulations, but let’s do our best and work together.” The ongoing commitment to shared excellence was highly evident as we began the gemba walk of the production floor. True to their objectives of reducing lead time, optimizing labor, driving quality systems, and possessing an excellent level of factory cleanliness, the operating facility of roughly 250 employees left our group highly impressed. There was noticeable integration of autonomation and Artificial Intelligence along with mature quality systems and visual management. One team member presentation on the power of their Quality Circle activities left us all amazed at the overall level of engagement. The heartfelt thank-you’s at the close of the visit were of the utmost sincerity!
Mike Hoseus led us in a debrief on the bus ride back to the hotel, and we are all excited for his extended session tomorrow to start Day 3. We’ll follow the workshop session in the afternoon with another automotive parts supplier site visit.
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