Charles Fishman has an article in the upcoming December/January issue of Fast Company, this one titled No Satisfaction. In it he dives into Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant and shows why they are successful… and why the U.S. big three still just don’t get it.
At Toyota there is a presumption of imperfection.
No one at Toyota Georgetown can talk about his work without explaining how it has just changed, or is about to change.
We’ve blogged quite a bit about how some organizations and companies complain about "competitiveness burdens" and feel they simply cannot compete… when they should really be looking at their own internal waste. Fishman makes this point perfectly:
Without fanfare, in fact, Toyota is confounding conventional wisdom about U.S. manufacturing. Toyota isn’t outsourcing; it’s creating jobs in the United States. It isn’t having trouble manufacturing complicated products here–it’s opening factories as quickly as its systems and quality standards allow. It’s offering union wages and good health insurance (to avoid being unionized), and selling the products its American workers make to Americans, profitably and more inexpensively than its U.S. competitors.
Simply working at Toyota transforms even your home life. Consider Howard Artrip…
The way he does his work is so compelling it has become part of his personal life. "When I’m mowing the grass, I’m thinking about the best way to do it. I’m trying different turns to see if I can do it faster," he says. He has analyzed his morning routine. "I do the same standardized work in the shower every morning. I have to get here at 6 a.m., and I know it takes 19 minutes, including walking into the plant." He smiles. "I’ve maximized my sleep time."
Many of us in the lean world know exactly what he means… often to the amusement of our spouses. It’s an incessant desire to improve the process… not just innovate the product.