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U.S. has one rising carmaker: It’s Toyota

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Business – International Herald Tribune

You could argue that Nissan and Hyundai are also rising, particularly here in the U.S.

Paragraph three, in this article, focuses on Toyota's “lower labor costs.” Is that about the only thing business writers and executives can focus on, labor costs?

It's only at the very end of the article where they talk about the cost savings that I think of when I think of Toyota. It's kaizen, employee involvement, and the continuous improvement process that count, not cheap labor.

Acting on suggestions from workers in eight countries where the Camry will be produced, Toyota's engineers and designers cut its development time from 23 months to 17 months.

Thanks to simplified production methods, Toyota's plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, will reach full speed in 15 days, versus the 45 days needed to ramp up production of the previous Camry.

Meanwhile, Toyota reconfigured the process it uses to produce plastic parts at the plant, allowing it to bring back work from a supplier and create 45 jobs at the plant, which employs 7,000 people. Those jobs are at labor rates of about $44 an hour – roughly $23 less than those paid by Detroit automakers, because of vastly lower costs for health care and retirement.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and 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 an anthology 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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