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Old 27th June 2013, 16:36   #31
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Default Re: The Toyota Story : From Handlooms to Automobiles

Samurai-san ... Arrigato Gozaimasu (Thank you very much!!!) ... This is a wonderful report showcasing the history of Toyota. Having been in Japan for a few years myself, I really appreciated their culture, innovations, hard work, food, dressing sense, cleanliness, discipline and so many other things. Japanese absolutely love their rich culture and history. Did you know that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's ashes is safely preserved in Renkoji Temple at central Tokyo. You will also see a bust of Netaji in the temple premises. Now, the history associated with Netaji is largely relevant to India, but people of Japan take pride in the fact that Netaji was associated with them. That's how keen the Japanese are in maintaining their heritage.
I have also seen a few pagodas and temples in Japan which are turned into museums and maintained very well.
So, I am not surprised to see such a grand museum belonging to a private organisation and they maintaining it so well. I am absolutely impressed by this story and the photos.

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Old 27th June 2013, 16:50   #32
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From humble beginnings to a mighty business conglomerate, the story tells it all. Brilliant! It is really nice to see the pains and efforts the Japanese take to preserve their history; and also the efforts they take to develop their work & business. Some lessons ought to be taken from them, if you want to reach the top, there's no substitute for hard work. And especially considering that they were completely destroyed in World War 2. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 27th June 2013, 17:12   #33
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Interesting to note that the beginnings of Suzuki Motor Corporation is also from Suzuki Loom Works. The earliest founder is said to be a Cotton farmer and somehow in time they started developing automobiles, same as Toyota. I have heard the story, but dont remember much of it.
There is a small museum near to my place in Hamamatsu, I would try to go there and get some information on Suzuki's past and post it sometime later.

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Read somewhere that Toyota name came from rice fields or somewhat.
Although its more often written in the foreign script "Katakana" as トヨタ (TOYOTA), the name "Toyota" when written in Japanese Kanji looks like [SIZE=4]豊田[/SIZE]
The meaning of first Kanji [SIZE=4]豊[/SIZE](toyo) is for "abundant" and the second Kanji [SIZE=4]田[/SIZE] (ta) is for "field".

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Old 27th June 2013, 18:12   #34
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Next comes 3 different machines that convert the cotton to different types of threads.
Hey Samurai, a pretty comprehensive and impressive report on the museum. This sure seems to be one of the best museum tours I have come across. The desire to spread and share the knowledge by Toyota corporation is laudable. Anyway, the section of 3 different machines makes me nostalgic. I have worked on programming the automation system for the second machine that you saw in this group for a big textile machine manufacturer in south India. I have fond memories of working on that machine for a good 10 months and more than anything else, maturing as an engineer. These machines are just mesmerising when you see them reach their full speed (~1200rpm) for the first time. They are equally terrifying when you have a power failure at full speed, just imagine the amount of cotton that will break and float around in the air
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Old 27th June 2013, 18:55   #35
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Originally Posted by sukhoi30 View Post
Samurai-san ... Arrigato Gozaimasu (Thank you very much!!!) ... This is a wonderful report showcasing the history of Toyota. Having been in Japan for a few years myself, I really appreciated their culture, innovations, hard work, food, dressing sense, cleanliness, discipline and so many other things.
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Ah Samurai sama, a wonderful report! I love japan like crazy as we all have a lot to learn from them!
Same here. I became interested in Japan when I read James Clavell's Shogun in the mid 80s. That coupled with my interest in martial arts and love of history, I have become a Japanophile. It was fun discussing Japanese history with JTB guides. One of them got a shock when I could name 3 of Oda Nobunaga's sons by memory, she exclaimed even she didn't know that one.

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There is a small museum near to my place in Hamamatsu, I would try to go there and get some information on Suzuki's past and post it sometime later.
Wow, didn't know there was a BHPian in Hamamatsu. After our events at Hamanako, we drove to Hamamastu to catch the bullet train to Kyoto. We even ran into Shinzo Nakanishi san (former Maruti MD) at Hamamastu train station, as some of the Journos knew him well. He was getting off the train along with his wife and he was quite stunned to encounter Indian reporters all of a sudden. He was quite amused to learn we were there on Toyota event.

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I have worked on programming the automation system for the second machine that you saw in this group for a big textile machine manufacturer in south India. I have fond memories of working on that machine for a good 10 months and more than anything else, maturing as an engineer.
Damn, nice to know you have actually worked on these machines.

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Old 27th June 2013, 20:07   #36
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Wow, didn't know there was a BHPian in Hamamatsu. After our events at Hamanako, we drove to Hamamastu to catch the bullet train to Kyoto. We even ran into Shinzo Nakanishi san (former Maruti MD) at Hamamastu train station,
Suzuki HQ is in Hamamatsu and I happen to be working there and there is one another BHPian (Nanolover) who is settled here in Hamamatsu.
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Old 28th June 2013, 01:48   #37
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Apologies if i am veering off topic with my very first post but reading this brilliantly narrated history of Toyota brings to mind my favourite Toyota management story.

As part of the manufacturing process at Toyoda, Sakichi San was ever insistent on quality and invented the automatic loom that would stop when the needle broke. Something that caused a drop in quality and a halt to production with the earlier hand loom. He was obsessed with quality and production efficiency. Traits followed by multiple generations of the Toyoda family and the reason Toyota revolutionised the manufacturing industry with their lean production systems. A key process in the Toyota commitment to quality is the 'Andon Cord'. In the production line, any worker at any level had complete autonomy to pull a physical cord that ran above his or her station and bring the workstation to a halt. This cord would light up a lamp (Andon is Japanese for lantern) and alert the supervisor / manager about a potential defect. The manager stops all other work until the problem is fixed. Sometimes entire production lines would come to a halt to fix one problem because the lowliest worker in the system pulled the Andon. They surmised that it was cheaper to stop production and fix the error than let it through the entire system and eventually affect the customer.

When American auto giants, crumbling under Toyota's aggressive growth in Market Share in their home turf, learnt about the Andon, they eagerly adopted the same method. But they would be damned if they were going to let a minimum wage worker stop a multi million dollar production line. So the american manufacturers encouraged their workers to alert their supervisors who would investigate the situation, and if it was within their pay grade, stop the station. Else, they would escalate, until someone senior enough took the call to stop the entire line if required. The US companies continued to lose ground to Toyota and were scratching their heads for years wondering what they were missing.

Toyota's philosophy though was simple: Never let a defect pass through if you know about it, no matter who you are.

With this kind of obsession over quality and commitment to manufacturing efficiency, it is no surprise that they revolutionised the automotive industry.
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Old 28th June 2013, 10:05   #38
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Default Re: The Toyota Story : From Handlooms to Automobiles

Simply wonderful, Samurai. Thanks for posting this informative article. What you have described here are the essential steps in innovation. Every inventor has to go through such phases and the ones that don't get tired or discouraged, make history.
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Old 28th June 2013, 10:22   #39
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Suzuki HQ is in Hamamatsu and I happen to be working there
I think we saw the Suzuki building from the Shinkansen Bullet train en-route to Kyoto. We passed too fast, before I could pull out the camera.

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As part of the manufacturing process at Toyoda, Sakichi San was ever insistent on quality and invented the automatic loom that would stop when the needle broke. Something that caused a drop in quality and a halt to production with the earlier hand loom.
Yes, we saw that demo too. Unfortunately, by the time I understood the demo, it was too late to video record it. Due to language barrier, we missed many ideas they were desperately trying to convey to us. Too many wakarimasen...
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Old 28th June 2013, 15:59   #40
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Superb thread! Everything in this world is based on strings; according to string theorists. We knew that the Mahatma started with spinning and got us independence. Now, we also know that the string got us Toyota cars. What an idea sirji. Gozaimasu Samurai san, for this excellent report.

The Japanese worship their work and each one holds himself responsible for his contribution to the whole. The Andon Cord, I guess, has a dual purpose. It signifies that quality comes from the smallest detail, hence the lowest rank worker is authorised to pull the cord. Secondly, it shames the cause of a defect and prevents it from recurring. There is a lot for us to learn from this report.
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Old 28th June 2013, 17:34   #41
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We often saw this board next to many looms, unimaginable in India museums.Attachment 1101229
Well, I was re-reading it in the office today and this board struck a bell in my head and I remembered an incident in our honeymoon trip. On our Honeymoon trip we had been to the Panchachuli garment weaving small scale factory in Almora; and as you said (somewhat similar to musuems, but this was in a factory) we were not even allowed to take photographs of the powerlooms or the people working there, let alone touch anything anywhere. I don't know why, when I asked the manager why is it so; he responded that it was as per the orders of the 'higher' authorities. Just like this museum, if only they had allowed us to take photographs of the various stages through which a garment goes before it becomes a shawl, maybe everyone could have come to know of it.
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Old 30th June 2013, 02:42   #42
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Thank you for this beautiful article Samurai San! Never knew that Toyota started out manufacturing looms. Like you my fascination with Japan began with James Clavell's 'Shogun'. Beautiful Country! Amazing people!
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Old 30th June 2013, 08:17   #43
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What an excellent write up.

I was told by a Korean friend that I made at Daewoo shipyard that even Daewoo started with power looms and textile machinery business and later entered automotives and at much a later stage into ship building.

Seems this was the beaten path for yesteryears industrial giants.

Happen to visit Japan occassionally. Would make it a point to visit this museum if possible.

A bit OT. Is Toyota the promoter of the Mitsui group?
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Old 30th June 2013, 11:59   #44
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Hi,
Congratulations..this is indeed a full coverage. I could go back to my last year memories of visiting the Toyota museum. You have almost covered every thing except the model line up poster
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Old 1st July 2013, 09:54   #45
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Reminded me of my visit to the museum last year. Did you happen to goto Noritake and Tokugawa museum's too?
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