#TBT: Toyota Helps Another Food Bank

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 6.32.14 AMBack in 2013, I blogged about Toyota helping the NYC Food Bank… not helping as in giving money, but helping as in sharing their expertise with the Toyota Production System.

My post: Video: Toyota Helps a NYC Food Bank & Hurricane Sandy Victims

There was another post from 2010 where Toyota helped a food bank serve more meals at Thanksgiving: Video of Toyota’s Thanksgiving Kaizen

Be sure to check out both videos (they are at the bottom of this post, as well).

As you might know, Toyota is building a new North American headquarters site in Plano, Texas (about 30 minutes away from me here in the DFW area).

This article has some of the details: Toyota says philanthropy is at its core, and Plano is seeing it in action

Again, Toyota isn’t just giving money and donating trucks, they are teaching their methods, this time lending their process improvement expertise to the North Texas Food Bank in south Dallas.

It’s important to have a goal that’s aligned with the organization’s purpose and “the agency wanted to increase the number of meals it provided to low-income people in the area.”

From the article:

“The employees connected the organization with people at Toyota who could apply basic principles from the Toyota Production System to the food bank’s operations. Toyota’s assembly plants follow TPS in their manufacturing operations, seeking to make them as lean and efficient as possible.

“They helped us think differently about how we did things,” said Anna Kurian, senior manager of communications at the North Texas Food Bank.”

As I blogged about last Friday, I think it’s an error to associate TPS and Lean with “efficiency” only, but it’s probably the reporter who chose to focus on that. I’m sure Toyota also helped them improve quality and safety, if there was a need there.

In these food bank examples, there is a common theme about Toyota helping the food bank leaders and staff think differently… participating in the improvement instead of Toyota fixing things for them.

After three months of effort, what were the results?

“Before Toyota brought TPS to the food bank, the pantry was serving an average of 12 people an hour, she said. Now it averages 20 an hour, a 66 percent increase.”

The Dallas Morning News article also lists the five Toyota corporate mindsets or “precepts:”

The five Toyota precepts

1. Be contributive to the development and welfare of the country by working together, regardless of position, in faithfully fulfilling your duties.

2. Be at the vanguard of the times through endless creativity, inquisitiveness and pursuit of improvement.

3. Be practical and avoid frivolity.

4. Be kind and generous, strive to create a warm, homelike atmosphere.

5. Be reverent, and show gratitude for things great and small in thought and deed.

Thanks to Toyota for being a great part of our North Texas community (and many other communities!)


Past videos:


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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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