Been staying in the city of Nagoya for the last few days, and today we made a field-trip to the Toyota-factory. The factory consists of several very large plants and offices, and the tour we got was to one of these plants, called Tsutsumi. At Tsutsumi they produce the following models: Allion, Camry, Scion tC, Prius, and Premio. The Tsutsumi-plant employs 5.000 people, and produces 1.400 cars on a daily basis (and by the way, it only takes 20 hours to produce a single car). Unfortunately yet understandably, it wasn’t allowed to take photos inside the factory, but it was really cool to be guided through the whole assembly process. The assembly line snakes its way through the plant with employees positioned around at different stations, and the principles of Lean-thinking were clearly visible. For example, when producing a Camry each employee has 75 seconds to complete his part on the assembly line. If this criteria isn’t met, a yellow light appears on a board (a so-called Andon-board) that signals a hold-up at that particular station. A supervisor then rushes to that station to help out. If the problem isn’t fixed within a short span of time, the color on the board changes from yellow to red, and the whole assembly line must stop. This is due to the Jidoken-principle, a defective item must never be sent onto the next process. Furthermore, the entire plant is based around the just-in-time principle; Making what is needed, when it is needed, in the amount needed.
The overall impression was that the factory is extremely well organized, after decades of tweaking and adjustment in the hunt for continuous improvement. People were working in a steady pace, without rushing it, in a neat and clean factory.
We were however allowed to take photos in the showroom. A couple of personal favorites was the Lexus LFA, a genuine hellmachine with a top speed of 325 km/h and the capacity to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds, fueled by a 4.8 liter V10 engine!
Another vehicle that caught my eye was the Land Cruiser. I could picture myself cruising around in this any day! 🙂