Regular readers know that we often harp on the fact that most lean manufacturing efforts fail because one key pillar of lean, respect for people, is forgotten. Leave it to Toyota Chairman Fujio Cho to remind us, again, of the importance of people.
"The competitiveness of a company in the global market will be
decided by the extent to which the company can employ and manage
excellent and motivated people," Cho said at a press conference he gave
earlier this year in his capacity as chairman of the Japan Automobile
"Manufacturers treating workers as simply one of the ‘three
Ms’–men, machines and material–won’t develop in terms of
international competitiveness," Cho said. "We firmly believe that we
need to value our workers so much that every single one of them feels
part of the management of the company and an active participant in
"It’s important for all companies competing in the global
marketplace, and for the manufacturing industry as a whole, to
encourage people to work [to their potential] in return for suitable
No further commentary is really necessary. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: people are more than a pair of hands. They have knowledge, creativity, experience, and ideas. Even if that isn’t represented on a P&L or balance sheet.