There are many elements of the Toyota Production System (TPS) that have become part of routine production process or even our daily business process. While Just-In-Time is widely recognized, core TPS elements such as Andon (dashboards), Pokayoke (automation such as bar-coding), Muda (value-stream maps), Kaizen (rapid improvement teams), and Hoshin (strategic planning) have been adopted to accomplish various objectives. Many organizations have emulated the TPS to varying degrees in striving for competitive advantage, enhanced customer-value, and waste reduction.
In determining a location for a North American plant, a grid analysis shows that while a Toyota factory in the USA would perform well in factors such as marketability and jobs, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) would match the US factory performance, as well as exceed it in factors such as production capacity and salaries (cost efficiency). With a commitment to include internal stakeholders in the decision-making process through Ringo Sho and Nemawashi for employees to achieve a sense of ownership, the grid analysis suggests TMMC would be best fit for Toyota’s North American plan location.
The general analysis of the production capacity at TMMC for the RX 330 line shows that up to 20,000 more cars can be produced at TMMC. However, an opportunity exists to perhaps utilize historical trend data on markets and similar models to improve forecasting accuracy. Demand for the RX 330/350 through 2010 far exceeded the estimated production capacities (J.D. Power Associates, 2011).
Evaluating the distribution of Toyota production in North America reveals a strategy in which the majority of its North American manufacturing is done in the USA and Canada. With a primary focus on the US and Canadian consumers, Toyota production in Mexico has been minimal, as evidenced by only one manufacturing with no plans for expansion in a way of building additional plant(s).
Having the goal to produce high quality and most reliable vehicles at the lowest cost and within the shortest possible time, Toyota believes that rather than import cars from Japan, a regional production strategy of manufacturing in North America will help to lower cost and improve lead times, while quality will be facilitated by a Toyota Production System (TPS) approach that is embedded in the company’s culture, utilizing all elements of the TPS.
References J.D. Power and Associates (2011). Measuring vehicle quality after 3 years of ownership. Retrieved from Http://www.jdpower.com/autos/articles/2011-Vehicle-Dependability-Study Johnson, W.H. (2003). Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC): The Lexus RX 330 Line. Retrieved from http://polaris.umuc.edu/~jstewart/Amba604/TMMCCase_Final.pdf