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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