Detroit News on Toyota: "Relentless"


Article Link –> Relentless-Toyota is poised to overtake GM, but here's the scariest part: Now it's stepping on the gas.

Interesting “state of Toyota” article by the Detroit News.

Like a great tanker holding its course through stormy seas, Toyota Motor Corp. is gaining share in the world's most competitive markets and steaming ahead with new technology. Already the world's richest automaker, it is on track to become the largest.

With General Motors Corp. losing ground in its home market, Toyota's path to the top seems unobstructed.

Yet Toyota's top managers aren't satisfied.

Ah, continuous improvement!!

After outlining the company's strengths and weaknesses, new Chief Executive Katsuaki Watanabe glumly concluded, “There's still room for improvement.”

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. There are some other highlights from this article that make a strong statement about the resiliency of Toyota’s total system approach to continued sustainable growth.

    – Executive pay is described as ‘paltry’ by US standards, with CEO’s making less than $1 million – about the same as Big 3 VP’s. Yet executives don’t seem to be running out the door looking for that bigger paycheck.
    – Toyota is concerned about their transformation from challenger to champion – they are worried that they will not get enough people to absorb the Toyota Way quickly enough to match their growth. 1 million units of capacity will be added globally next year. To meet this challenge Toyota is investing in new training methods in over a dozen languages to further invest in efforts to institutionalize best practices from their plants.
    – Also as part of the induced pressure on the organization to ensure they don’t become complacent, Toyota has committed to shortening development time from design approval to production to 12 months or less from their current 20 months.
    – Lastly, to weather any unforeseen ‘bumps in the road’ Toyota is sitting on $28 Billion in cash reserves.

    Toyota continues to look for success in every detail.

  2. I believe that one of the strongest statements in this article is where it mentions the two pillars of the Toyota system – continuous improvement and respect for people. It’s the respect for people part that american manufacturing needs to also discover.


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