Updated: Educated workforce tipped Toyota plant into Woodstock

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Business Edge News Magazine – businessedge.ca – Ontario Edition:

A rebuttal from Alabama (and Toyota)

Does your company want intelligent workers who can think or the “cheapest” labor you can find? Here is an article about Toyota's choice of Ontario as compared to some locations where they could have found more government incentives or less expensive labor.

“Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained – and often illiterate – workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use ‘pictorials' to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.”

Alabama, Toyota and Honda officials say these claims aren't true. The comments from Ontario probably reflect bias or urban legend more than fact. But still, the choice between “good” and “cheap”, usually drives Toyota to “good” workers, no matter what location, Canada or Alabama.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published 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.

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