They go big, but stay lean (or they're getting “leaner”).
It's been hard to avoid the Toyota ads while watching football, with their new full-sized trucks. Rather than patriotic music (Chevy) or country singers (Ford), Toyota's ads are definitely focusing on the product… and on details such as the size of the trailer hitch assemblies, etc. I'm guessing they got some solid “voice of the customer” data about components and capabilities that were critical.
This press release has some details about the San Antonio plant:
A NEW STANDARD FOR QUALITY
The new Tundra is designed in North America, and a number of Tundra models are manufactured at a brand new, purpose-built assembly plant in San Antonio, Texas. This plant represents a major evolutionary step in the Toyota Production System, one of the most highly-regarded manufacturing systems in the world.
The new Tundra plant in Texas is at the heart of a manufacturing complex that includes a network of 21 major suppliers of components and parts, located on the same site. This is the first time for Toyota that suppliers' parts production operations have been co-located with an auto assembly plant. The move has significantly reduced the landfill waste and the fuel emissions and costs associated with the transport of components from off-site manufacturing locations. It has also greatly increased production efficiencies by eliminating inventories. Many components are now built to order and delivered directly to the assembly line to be installed in the Tundra for which they were made. Finally, working with on-site suppliers has given Toyota previously unheard of control over quality and the ability to quickly address production issues.
Funny how Toyota isn't trying to source tons of parts from Mexico or China, huh? Toyota's not stupid. If they thought their total costs and effectiveness would be better by sourcing from China, they would. But, they have their suppliers in a high-labor country (albeit a non-union area) with the suppliers right near by. Why don't more companies copy that?
I'll post more later on Boeing (or keep tuned to Evolving Excellence), but Ford's new lean wonder-CEO didn't push a similar approach with Boeing's supply chain.
Here is the WSJ article that Dan references in his comment.
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