Ford’s Padilla is Chasing Toyota

0 U.S.:

Comments from the Ford president:

“Padilla says Toyota serves as an example of how to make winning models.

“Toyota doesn't hit home runs every time at bat,” he says during an interview in the executive dining room. “When they don't hit a home run, they go back and refine it.””

The concept of kaizen and continuous improvement at work!

In reference to the article below about China's CEOs having manufacturing backgrounds, so does Padilla:

Padilla's manufacturing background contrasts with such former senior executives as Harold Poling, chairman and CEO from 1990 to 1993, who was a finance specialist, and Lee Iacocca, Ford's president from 1970 to 1978, whose expertise was in marketing.

And also, I like his focus on “fixing the process” (as opposed to blaming the people, I assume).

Since his days at Jaguar, Padilla has held positions with responsibility for South America, North America, global manufacturing and quality. He is still most at home on the factory floor, says David Cole, 67, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

“His real comfort zone is a plant,” said Cole, who has known Padilla since he was in charge of South America from 1996 to 1998.

Padilla says his strategy is to tap everyone from executives to assembly workers and information-technology experts for their know-how on how to improve production.

“I never end any conversation without a discussion of the process,” he says. “We've got to fix the processes.”

That's exactly the Toyota approach, tapping all employees for their expertise and giving them input.

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