What We’re Looking Forward to Learning at the Toyota Plant Tour


Tomorrow, along with the entire KaiNexus team, I'm going to visit the Toyota truck plant in San Antonio, the plant referred to as TMMTX. The 15 of us will be there in closed toed shoes and all other required clothing to learn about the Toyota Production System, Kaizen (continuous improvement), and Lean. Here is the Toyota fact sheet about the plant.

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I've blogged about it on the KaiNexus blog. I asked the KaiNexus team to say a little bit about what they hope to learn in the visit and you can read their comments it here.

One thing I shared with the group was a webinar I recorded a few years back that was intended to be “tour prep” for a healthcare group coming from The Netherlands… I've decided to make the video public (I'm not sure why I didn't do that before).

Visiting the Toyota plan isn't just about learning how to build trucks. The main benefit is taking conceptual lessons back to our own workplaces and customers.

A few KaiNexus people mentioned wanting to see the famed Toyota “andon cord” and the process around a team member signaling a problem or a need for help.

Below is a blog post I wrote about the andon cords in a factory in Japan (come join me February 26 to March 2 for another Lean Healthcare Study Trip with me and Kaizen Institute):

Andon Cords at the Toyota Takaota Plant – It Doesn't Come Naturally?

More posts about andon

A number of the KaiNexus team members said they want to get a better sense of what a culture of continuous improvement looks like.

Here is a post I wrote about an example of Kaizen at one of the factories in Japan:

Our Toyota Tour Guide's Small Improvement — Kaizen in Action

Our KaiNexus CEO and co-founder Dr. Greg Jacobson shared some thoughts and we discussed the tour for a few minutes in our recent “Ask Us Anything” Episode 17. Here is the video segment about the tour:

Here are some other blog posts that I've written about visiting the San Antonio plant:

The Toyota Texas Plant Tour – Concepts From the Visitor Center

My First Visit to the Toyota Truck Plant in San Antonio (TMMTX)

My 2nd Tour of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (San Antonio)

Photos from the Toyota San Antonio Plant Visitor Center


I added a few updates to this blog post – has Toyota made improvements in these areas?

Toyota Tour Thoughts – Yes, They Have Opportunities for Kaizen

I'll update some of those items after the tour.

After the tour, I'm going to ask the KaiNexus team what they thought about the tour, what their key takeaways were, and what they can do differently with that knowledge. Stay tuned, as I'll post a link to my blog post that we do post tour.

Thanks to Toyota for letting us learn and be inspired! I get something out of the tour each and every time.

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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.


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