Podcast #350 — Tim Turner – Building Lexus, Leaving Toyota, and Helping Elsewhere

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My guest today is Tim Turner, who joined us previously in 2010 for episode #90. Tim was the lead author for a book called One Team on All Levels: Stories from Toyota Team Members that was about the Toyota plant and its people in Kentucky. Tim was involved in the ramp up of Kentucky Lexus production and then left Toyota after 22 years. He was at another manufacturing company and now works as a consultant, so it's interesting to hear about all of those different experiences.

You'll hear about Tim's role as a team leader — “How can I serve them?” was a key question they would ask. We also talk about various forms of improvement, including “small Kaizen,” A3s, and Toyota Kata. How was safety a “precondition” for work there? And he also shares how if we're going to make an acronym out of LEAN, it should stand for “Let Everyone Assist Now” instead of the alternatives.


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For a link to this episode, refer people to www.leanblog.org/350.

For earlier episodes of my podcast, visit the main Podcast page, which includes information on how to subscribe via RSS, through Android appsor via Apple Podcasts.  You can also subscribe and listen via Stitcher or Spotify.

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Questions, Topics, and Links:

  • What was the role of a Team Leader?
  • What was the balance between solving problems and help team members solve problems?
  • What was involved in starting up the Lexus production in Kentucky? Why was there a YEAR of training before production started?
  • What do you think about the word “Lean” vs. the Toyota Production System (TPS) terminology?
  • Did Toyota ever talk about “servant leadership?”
  • What's the true value of activity? What's adding value?
  • Why won't Tim consult for a company that wants to cut jobs?
  • Why mutual respect is key…
  • A discussion about car dealer service departments, an interruption to our podcast, and how they can improve service
  • Toyota retirees giving back — a group called “SOAR”
  • What are “Red Collar Leaders”?
  • What's it like working in the Toyota system vs. helping others become more like Toyota or just helping them improve?
  • Tim's website

Thanks for listening!

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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