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As Japan’s Elderly Ranks Swell, Toyota Sees New Path to Growth

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Wednesday's Wall St. Journal front page had quite a contrast. Next to an article about how GM is struggling, there was a glowing profile about how Toyota is using their technology to develop new innovative products for the aging population.

“Toyota has a long tradition of applying core technology to diverse fields, dating back to 1937 when founder Sakichi Toyoda spun the car-making business out of his loom manufacturing operation. Ever since, Toyota engineers have tried to be equally resourceful, translating their expertise to areas ranging from communications to bioengineering.”

It's an interesting reminder, I think, to the general public that doesn't study Toyota that the company didn't start as a car company. It's quite a different history than General Motors. Also, thinking back to this year, Toyota sure gets treated more positively in the business press. It's not completely undeserved, considering Toyota's business success and growth, now being poised to overtake GM for #1 in global auto production. GM's problems can't be blamed on bad PR, nor could they be fixed by positive PR.

It just goes to show what kind of research and forward-looking projects that Toyota is able to work on, given their success and profits. GM is stuck looking in the “woe is me” rear view mirror, their better times being in the past.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. 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 project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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