Toyota Runs Low on Expertise To Power Global Push

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WSJ.com – Requires Subscription

As Toyota grows, they are struggling with finding/keeping enough people who truly understand TPS tools and the Toyota Way.

I'll try to find a “free” version of this article but here are a few highlights (trust me, the WSJ subscription at $79 a year is worth it).

“Many quality gurus at those subsidiaries are well-versed in Toyota's methods. But one big risk to the auto maker is their level of expertise as younger and less-experienced engineers are entrusted with managing some day-to-day operations outside Japan.”

Below, this is an issue that any company with a very strong unique culture and operating system struggles with, including a company like Dell Computer (which isn't really a “Toyota Way” company even if some people call them “lean”).

“In another effort to deal with the lack of manufacturing resources in North America, Toyota is likely to locate a future plant close to an existing facility in what the company calls a “concept of satellite plants” to share the experience and expertise of an existing assembly plant.”

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. His latest book has been released as an "in-progress" book, titled Measures of Success.

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