In Jeffrey Liker’s book, The Toyota Way, it is clear how different the company is. Here are some examples:
- Staff on the production line have the authority to stop production if a unit has a fault that cannot be fixed in time.
- They do not merely test for quality at the end; they ensure it is in every step.
- They introduce staff – suggested innovations at an alarming rate.
- They take a long time over a decision and then implement it quickly.
- They tackle all the areas where money is lost, such as downtime, and now can change the production line from one model to another in less than three hours where other manufacturers take days.
Barring the recent problems Toyota has had, show me a car manufacturer who has not had a recall. I believe they are one of the best companies in the world. To replicate Toyota ’ s success would take a 15 – to 20 – year time frame, and although a daunting period, it is a worthwhile journey. To succeed, an organization needs to have the top three layers of management having experienced the change process. The checklist in Exhibit 20.2 sets out the journey you will need to undertake.
The culture change process will take at least 15 to 20 years because all of your executive team will need to give way to the new breed of senior managers who can cope with the new culture. The “ old guard ” will never be able to cope with the new culture it will be too difficult to modify the 20 or 30 years of programming. The existing senior management ’ s role is to enjoy the last of the summer wine while preparing the young guns in the new environment. This is a case of the senior management saying “ Do as I preach, rather than do as I do. ” All new senior managers will come from existing ranks. There will be no place for outsiders, unless they themselves come from exceptional organizations (e.g., ex – Toyota).
In this article I will support my belief that to replicate Toyota’s success is a fifteen year journey, and although a daunting period it is a worthwhile journey. To succeed there needs to be all three layers of management in place who have lived the change process. The checklist below sets out the journey you will need to undertake.