Ford Recognizes Toyota is the Best


    Mulally: Ford needs to become one global company – 11/10/06 – The Detroit News Online:

    Isn't it funny how it takes an outsider to come in to point out the obvious? New Ford CEO Alan Mulally:

    “‘The best in the world is Toyota,' Mulally said. ‘I'm a disciple of the Toyota Production System. The Toyota Production System is the finest production system in the world they're a magical machine it's the machine that changed the world.'”

    Admitting that is so much better than making excuses. Now the change is the hard part.

    Those of you from Ford — how are Ford's lean efforts coming? I've heard hit-or-miss stories over the years of how Ford makes progress, then slips back…. they develop the “Ford Production System” but then it doesn't really impact the plants…. how are things and where are they headed?

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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. As Bob Emiliani pointed out in an article some months ago, much money is still being wasted in IT and consultants’ fees. But the prospect of buyouts and early retirements is a welcome solution for some employees. For Mulally, it’s going to be like steering the Titanic.

      But lean may just make its way where it needs to go. I talked to a plant manager who had been steeped in the Mazda Production System at the joint venture plant in Flat Rock, Michigan. He’d been transferred to the Twin Cities plant, with apparently the hope that he’d be able to move it in the right direction.

    2. That approach can work. When I was at GM (10 years ago), we had a plant manager brought in to our engine plant who had been trained well at NUMMI. He made great strides at our plant… but it didn’t translate to all of GM becoming lean obviously. It’s a shame that GM hasn’t capitalized better on the NUMMI learning.

    3. Remeber, this guy came from Boeing, and while Aerospace isn’t a lean industry, he IS a disciple of the TPS.

      I work at Boeing (but not Seattle), and I see evidence every day that people are striving to be more Toyota like. It might take people months or years to get the hang of it, but they are trying.


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