Episode #19 of the Lean Blog Podcast brings the return of Jim Womack. Jim was sitting in Melbourne Australia, where he had been speaking about lean healthcare, a topic that we will discuss in a future podcast. In this podcast, we talk about Jim’s reflections on the book The Machine That Changed the World and its recent reissuing by the publisher (with updates). In the podcast, Jim not only talks about Toyota’s success, but ways in which Toyota could fail or falter in the future. This is the first part of our discussion, I will release the second part in the upcoming weeks.
Click to play:
Show Notes and Approximate Time, Episode #19
- 1:30 Jim’s thoughts on “Machine,” written about “why the teams [GM, Ford, Chrysler] can’t win the away games”
- 1:55 The book before “Machine” was “The Future of the Automobile” (1984)
- 2:15 The job of “Machine” was to describe a complete business system… “the biggest disappointment… was to have people tell me it was a great book about factories.”
- 3:00 “You get the feeling that a lot of people read the book, but just that one chapter [on manufacturing].”
- 3:50 Probably about a million copies sold so far
- 4:00 The publisher said that 2007 is the year when Toyota is probably going to pass GM, so why don’t we re-issue it?
- 4:20 The new subtitle is “Why Toyota Won”
- 4:45 “We’ve learned a lot since then… some of what we told you in the book is not exactly right, so we’re thinking of it not exactly as a product recall, but as a model line enhancement. This is what might have been the 1991 model if we had done annual model changes.”
- 5:30 Is there risk of a backlash with Toyota becoming #1? Jim talks about “ways in which Toyota could lose,” starting with manufacturing
- 10:50 “They could go native”
- 10:05 How Toyota could lose with the product development system (book by Al Ward)
- 10:40 The Jeff Liker book on product development (“they are complements to each other,” Jim says): The Toyota Product Development System: Integrating People, Process And Technology
- 14:30 How Toyota could fail with their dealer system
- 15:45 Jim’s essay on farmers and hunters
- 22:40 GM and the X-cars (info here and here)
- 24:10 Jim asks, “Can Toyota screw up? For the short term, the answer is no, for the long term, absolutely!”
- 24:30 “Most any other company would be fat, dumb, and happy.”
- 24:50 What about the excuses the Big 3 make about currency factors, etc.?
- 25:30 How the Big 3 are like the Detroit Lions
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