I only watched a few minutes of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda's live testimony (thanks to online cable news streaming), but the first things I heard prompted me to Tweet about it and I'm following up with a quick post.
The very first words (I joined in progress) that I heard were ones I passed along in the first tweet:
Akio Toyota – “The key to making quality products is developing quality people” — the very 1st thing I heard in the webstream #lean
This is a familiar refrain from those of each teaching Lean management and the Toyota Way. How did Toyota lose sight of this?
The next quote speaks to the fact that Toyota got away from their core principles, things that are taught as Lean thinking. It's not that TPS failed (or what some people think is TPS), Toyota got away from the TPS mindset.
Akio Toyoda blames growth that was “too quick.” Toyota priorities traditionally 1) safety 2) quality 3) volume. Priorities got confused.
So if TPS / Toyota Way / Lean is about developing people so they can improve quality, Toyota got away from that when their goal was to become #1 in sales:
Akio Toyoda says they pursued growth over the speed at which they could develop people and org., he regrets that led to safety problems.
Since Toyoda is relatively new to the job, do we blame him?
Since taking the job, Akio Toyoda has placed focus on re-emphasizing quality over quantity. #lean (live testimony)
My colleague John Toussaint also blogged recently about Mr. Toyoda and his response to the recent challenges.
And why is the company name not the same as the family? Find out from Jalopnik.
Updated: Random thought related to those from the Big 3 who are happy to see Toyota suffer, I think I'm coining a term (I can't find it, or this spelling, via google anywhere):
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