Go Back   Team-BHP > Under the Hood > Technical Stuff


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 6th February 2012, 15:34   #1
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 3,506
Thanked: 2,072 Times
Default The Toyota Way

Came across this today.
Toyota's latest processes have less automation and more people: Jeffrey K Liker - The Economic Times

Comments anyone?

Regards
Sutripta
Sutripta is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th February 2012, 15:46   #2
Senior - BHPian
 
mayankjha1806's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: BLR/Gurgaon
Posts: 2,133
Thanked: 820 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

The Toyota way has been much talked about has been very successful. In 2008 when the slow down hit most of the economies, i read that Toyota is packing off all its people and investing in them heavily to get them trained as post slowdown when the economy picks up they wanted to be ready.

From the look of it, as an outsider i feel Toyota truly believes in holistic engagement of employees.
mayankjha1806 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th February 2012, 17:04   #3
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Chennai
Posts: 818
Thanked: 1,647 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

In Richard Branson's new book "Screw Business As Usual", he says (1) doing business as usual has become passe and (2) businesses need to start looking at the social aspects of doing business and not just the bottom line. Of course, he makes a lot of other points too.

Unfortunately this is quite the opposite of what Toyota is doing in "The Toyota Way'. It hasn't anything to do with Toyota becoming a social minded corporate and recruiting people as against resorting to automation. Its just that Toyota (like quite a few other companies) have realised that post the current recession people have become even more dispensable and can be added and subtracted at will - something that cannot be done with automation machines already in place.

This is especially true when there is under capacity and the fixed cost automation machines lie idle on the workshop floor whereas with people it is just a matter of "adding and subtracting" them. So this way, Toyota reduces from its fixed costs (having additonal automation machines which are not being utilised) and adds to the bottom line. The ET article refers to this albeit in between the lines.

Screw Business as Usual ? Not Toyota
VeyronSuperSprt is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th February 2012, 20:29   #4
dot
Senior - BHPian
 
dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ban Chang
Posts: 1,681
Thanked: 714 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Found this funny, intriguing and wise at the same time. A company shifts to top gear only to find that a hill has come up and needs to downshift for better control.

Akin to reckless and forced induction of quality principles like six sigma where perhaps lower sigma level would have been sufficient from cost, efficiency and customer satisfaction maxima.

I think it is still all about profit and return on investment rather than any human angle.
dot is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 6th February 2012, 20:30   #5
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 3,506
Thanked: 2,072 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Hi,
Was thinking about this philosophy more on lines of production engineering, rather than social engineering.

Regards
Sutripta
Sutripta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th February 2012, 20:34   #6
Distinguished - BHPian
 
libranof1987's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: All over!
Posts: 3,743
Thanked: 2,875 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
Unfortunately this is quite the opposite of what Toyota is doing in "The Toyota Way'. It hasn't anything to do with Toyota becoming a social minded corporate and recruiting people as against resorting to automation. Its just that Toyota (like quite a few other companies) have realised that post the current recession people have become even more dispensable and can be added and subtracted at will - something that cannot be done with automation machines already in place.
Precisely my opinion about it too.

A human work force gives a company the liberty to control expenses to some extent.

It is just a co-incidence that it generates employment; but at the same time, no one is indispensible.

All said and done, you have to commend them on one thing : despite all the manual jobs, they still maintian a high standard of quality.
libranof1987 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th February 2012, 20:59   #7
dot
Senior - BHPian
 
dot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Ban Chang
Posts: 1,681
Thanked: 714 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Was thinking about this philosophy more on lines of production engineering, rather than social engineering.
The article mentioned about fixed costs of a particular equipment designed to do only one particular job. In time of need, it cant do anything else. A robotic arm can have only so much degrees of freedom to pick up a fender and weld a few spots. It cannot be told to pick up a door panel and attach the plastic trim.
dot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th February 2012, 21:29   #8
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Chennai
Posts: 818
Thanked: 1,647 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Hi,
Was thinking about this philosophy more on lines of production engineering, rather than social engineering.
Impact on production engineering - increased flexibilty to reduce and increase production at will without impacting costs and investing in automation machines that could remain idle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by libranof1987 View Post

All said and done, you have to commend them on one thing : despite all the manual jobs, they still maintian a high standard of quality.
The thought passed my mind too. You see, this sort of process can be resorted to in Japan where people dont jump jobs as often as they do in other parts of the world and so they are available, when required, to rejoin the workforce. If this is done in India, Toyota would lose a major part of the workforce that they have trained and could have to recruit and train them anew. This situation (continuous flow of new employees) would, in time, have its impact on the end quality of the product, not to mention other issues such as demoralisation / demotivation of the workforce.
VeyronSuperSprt is offline   (1) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 7th February 2012, 12:51   #9
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 3,506
Thanked: 2,072 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

First of all, the report has o be independently verified. Assuming the report is fully correct, some points (from the production engineering point of view) strike me as very strange. One example is the paint shop.

There is a reason why in most/ all modern auto factories, the paint shop is automated. First of all, it is considered a hazardous environment for a human. Which brings about a host of regulatory restrictions, significantly pushing up costs.
Also variability (and I'm not talking of actual productivity) of output and product quality is much higher with human input than in an automated system. And paint quality is one of the first things which set customer's perceived quality of the product. A 'touch and feel' (and see) item.
Add to this that Toyota is a volume car manufacturer, and the fact that Toyota's painting process is manual strikes me as very odd. Missing something here.

Regards
Sutripta
Sutripta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th February 2012, 17:01   #10
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Chennai
Posts: 818
Thanked: 1,647 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

There shouldn't be too much of an issue of there being a manual process in the paint shop. The report says it is supposedly manual only in the final stages. If you look at expensive cars such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce etc, painting / finishing is still done manually in order to get the best finish. So paint processes do lend themselves to perfection if done manually too.

However it is other areas, such as those linked to electronics, which would not lend themselves to manual intervention and in these Toyota would obviously resort to automation.
VeyronSuperSprt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th February 2012, 17:09   #11
Senior - BHPian
 
n.devdath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 3,963
Thanked: 1,715 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
There shouldn't be too much of an issue of there being a manual process in the paint shop. The report says it is supposedly manual only in the final stages. If you look at expensive cars such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce etc, painting / finishing is still done manually in order to get the best finish. So paint processes do lend themselves to perfection if done manually too.
Interesting discussion but the point to be kept in mind is that while high end Cos/Cars like the ones you mentioned have the kind of margins to hire the best of breed manual painters, most of Toyota's vehicles are mass production low margin automobiles which do not, in all likelyhood, provide the manufacturer the kind of margins to hire the "best of breed" hand painters and retain them.

However, since Toyota processes are very tight and work like Swiss clocks, normal assembly of components, testing on test benches, and a few other jobs can be done manually, successfully.
n.devdath is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 7th February 2012, 17:33   #12
BANNED
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Chennai
Posts: 818
Thanked: 1,647 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post

hire the "best of breed" hand painters and retain them.
The report says that Toyota is resorting to manual intervention in painting but this does not imply that it is being done by a team which would be rated anywhere near best of breed. The painting would be done by persons who are trained to give what is a commercially acceptable level of quality by Toyota's standards rather than a superlative one.
VeyronSuperSprt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th February 2012, 20:17   #13
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Kolkata
Posts: 3,506
Thanked: 2,072 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
If you look at expensive cars such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce etc, painting / finishing is still done manually in order to get the best finish. So paint processes do lend themselves to perfection if done manually too.
True. But then

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Toyota is a volume car manufacturer,
and the mentioned examples most certainly are not. Today's economics don't allow one to handcraft a volume product.

Quote:
However it is other areas, such as those linked to electronics, which would not lend themselves to manual intervention and in these Toyota would obviously resort to automation.
??

Regards
Sutripta
Sutripta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th February 2012, 02:13   #14
BANNED
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Coimbatore / MENA
Posts: 673
Thanked: 973 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

If you have seen Discovery Channel programs on production of some high end, relatively high volume cars, like the BMW 6 series, you might recall that at the final stage, inspection and badging are done by hand. This is probably what they mean. Part of the painting line does not have to include painting, does it?

Whether Toyota does it for profit, or not, end of the day, their goal is to provide the customer the best built vehicle for that price range, and whatever it takes to produce that. Unlike many others.

Cheers
gthang is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 8th February 2012, 10:22   #15
Senior - BHPian
 
DerAlte's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 8,076
Thanked: 2,876 Times
Default Re: The Toyota Way

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
... other areas, such as those linked to electronics ...
Only PCB manufacture (not done by Toyota, incidentally) has a high degree of automation. When it comes to mounting in the vehicle, all electronics requires manual mounting and connection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VeyronSuperSprt View Post
... The painting would be done by persons who are trained to give what is a commercially acceptable level of quality by Toyota's standards rather than a superlative one.
Absolutely correct. "Best of breed" painters would have poor productivity and temperamental nature - not good for production purposes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
... Today's economics don't allow one to handcraft a volume product. ...
Certainly, sir, but 'manual intervention' does not amount to 'handcrafting'. Used judiciously, human intervention in production - which relies on human intelligence - can boost productivity / reduce rejection, and that is where people are deployed selectively.

If there are, say, 1634 steps in series and parallel, in some of these humans can be much better than machines. As @veyronsupersport puts it, "commercially acceptable level of quality" can be judged by human workers much much faster than machines. Production automation is yet to reach that level of closed-loop control which can ensure immediate rapid rework to reduce output rejection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gthang View Post
... provide the customer the best built vehicle for that price range, and whatever it takes to produce that. Unlike many others. ...
From the customer point-of-view that is the most dangerous loophole - "best for the price range": neither is the "best" in absolute terms, nor does that ensure "whatever it takes to produce that". Every auto manufacturer does that, not just Toyota.

IIUC, @Sutripta's question is towards the sensibility of using manual processing in production vis-a-vis economics of production.
DerAlte is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The toyota 2010 recalls: what went wrong? What happened to the 'Toyota Way'? greenhorn The International Automotive Scene 6 11th May 2010 22:52
2 way or a 3 way component system akbaree In-Car Entertainment 36 16th September 2008 13:26
Blaupunkt 4-ch Amp, Blaupunkt ODx 6x9 3-way coaxials & 6.5" 2-way coaxials for sale hydrashok Shifting gears 3 16th March 2007 16:43
For HT front speakers - 2 way or 3 way ?? w 12 Gadgets, Computers & Software 3 4th September 2006 22:07
3-Way Vs. 2-Way kb100 In-Car Entertainment 18 8th May 2006 11:17


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 12:52.

Copyright 2000 - 2017, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks