Toyota replants itself near emerging markets

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From Wall St. Journal (no subscription required for this one):

Long article, not all of it is strictly “lean” related, but thought this was an interesting example of what sounds like an “Extended Value Stream Mapping” type activity — identifying waste and removing it!

“Toyota has set up a war room for IMV production at its office in Bangkok. On the wall is a long line of coded numbers, each representing a component, from wipers to heat sensors to nuts and bolts. Red lines fan out from each component to its subcomponents, which in turn have more red lines going out to further subcomponents. In some cases, the components are traced back to 12 levels of suppliers.

It was drudgery to map out those supply chains. But once they did, Toyota executives discovered all kinds of areas where subcomponents were going back and forth between suppliers, needlessly raising costs. ‘We found a lot of waste to cut before we even got started,' says Akira Okabe, a Toyota managing officer in charge of Asian operations.”

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