Toyota Organisation Structure

Topics: Toyota, General Motors, Toyota Production System Pages: 2 (678 words) Published: August 13, 2013
Toyota Motor Corporation (TYO: 7203) has often been referred to as the gold standard of the automotive industry. In the first quarter of 2007, Toyota (NYSE: TM) overtook General Motors Corporation in sales for the first time as the top automotive manufacturer in the world. Toyota reached success in part because of its exceptional reputation for quality and customer care. Despite the global recession and the tough economic times that American auto companies such as General Motors and Chrysler faced in 2009, Toyota enjoyed profits of $16.7 billion and sales growth of 6% that year. However, late 2009 and early 2010 witnessed Toyota’s recall of 8 million vehicles due to unintended acceleration. How could this happen to a company known for quality and structured to solve problems as soon as they arise? To examine this further, one has to understand about the Toyota Production System (TPS). TPS is built on the principles of “just-in-time” production. In other words, raw materials and supplies are delivered to the assembly line exactly at the time they are to be used. This system has little room for slack resources, emphasizes the importance of efficiency on the part of employees, and minimizes wasted resources. TPS gives power to the employees on the front lines. Assembly line workers are empowered to pull a cord and stop the manufacturing line when they see a problem. However, during the 1990s, Toyota began to experience rapid growth and expansion. With this success, the organization became more defensive and protective of information. Expansion strained resources across the organization and slowed response time. Toyota’s CEO, Akio Toyoda, the grandson of its founder, has conceded, “Quite frankly, I fear the pace at which we have grown may have been too quick.” Vehicle recalls are not new to Toyota; after defects were found in the company’s Lexus model in 1989, Toyota created teams to solve the issues quickly, and in some cases the company went to customers’ homes to...
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