Base Your Management Decisions

Feb 17th, 2009

Anyone who witnessed the rebirth of Chrysler under Lee Iacocca knows that one of the best product decisions he made was to invest in the K-Car, the basis for all the new passenger cars introduced in the 1980s. It saved the company from ruin. Then, in the 1990s, he was willing to step back and […]

Feb 16th, 2009

When I think about Toyota and how it operates, I keep on coming back to quality guru W. Edwards Deming’s famous edict: “Constancy of purpose.” Constancy of purpose explains why, in any given year, if you bet Toyota will make a profit, you will probably win. If you bet that its sales will grow over […]

Feb 15th, 2009

We get a flavor of what distinguishes Toyota from excerpts of its mission statement for its North American operations compared with that of Ford . Ford’s mission statement seems reasonable. The company is concerned about being a leader in its products and services and wants to continually improve these to prosper as a business and […]

Feb 14th, 2009

One of my favorite discussions of the history of the development of the Japanese automobile industry is a article by Michael Cusumano, The Japanese Automobile Industry (Cusumano, 1985), that contrasts in detail the evolution of Nissan and the evolution of Toyota. In his article, Cusumano clearly illustrates the different trajectories of the two companies. One […]

Feb 13th, 2009

Toyota understands that maintaining the jobs of associates is part of its obligation to the community and society. A great example of this is the case of Toyota’s longest-running manufacturing operation in the United States—a truck bed plant called TABC. In the 1960s the U.S. imposed a 30 percent surcharge on trucks that were imported, […]

Feb 12th, 2009

In the early 1980s, Toyota formed a joint venture with GM. It was Toyota’s first overseas plant and they did not want to go it alone. They agreed to teach GM the principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS). Toyota proposed to take over a light truck factory in Fremont, California that had been closed […]

Feb 11th, 2009

I asked Jim Press how he learned the Toyota Way. He explained that the reason he joined the company was partly to move on from an environment at Ford where there was constant tension between doing business the way it should be done and the way it actually was done. When he went to a […]

Feb 10th, 2009

Can a modern corporation thrive in a capitalistic world and be profitable while doing the right thing, even if it means that short-term profits are not always the first goal? I believe that Toyota’s biggest contribution to the corporate world is that of providing a real-life example that this is possible. Throughout my visits to […]