Friday, August 28, 2009

How Toyota became # 1

Highly recommended.

Throughout the book, the emphasis is on simple principles such as 'removal of waste', austerity, quest for quality and most importantly- continuous efforts for improvement.

Skeptics like me did find a lot of 'hail the great Toyota stuff' but with the book's title, you won't be surprised.

Some stuff about the 'Toyota culture' that stuck on long after I had finished the book . Some of these are:

Zero tolerance for waste: Examples are plenty

Zeal for improvement: No matter how good your process is, there has to be a better way to do it- that's what everyone in this corporation swears by. This philosophy ensures that change becomes a religion.

Worrying all the time: Achievements are somewhat downplayed and there is always talk of the problems the company faces. The American leadership gave a very honest insight how different it was for them in their initial days not to blurt out their acheivements at Toyota.

Calculated moves: There's no need to start on how much research Toyota does before starting a new project. The objective is: Take your time to plan well, but once decided- move fast. All products we see in the markets are a hit. Our Indian Qualis is a perfect example: Toyota looked at the market and said- ok we need a competition for the Tata Sumo. They didn't bother to develop a new vehicle or bring their elite offerings. They simply revived their two decade old Qualis and the rest is history. A couple of more pages added to Toyota’s success stories.

The book tries to convince you that Toyota America is a very 'American' company with a Nascar racing team to prove it (haha). However in the later part the author mixes up and says how deeply rooted Toyota's value system is and how great the Toyoda family is. I had a feeling that Toyota America is suffering from an identity crisis??!!

Success stories of the Prius and the Camry are a treat for the car loving population.

Besides knowing about the Toyota way, you might start thinking about implementing Toyota practices in real life.

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