Here We Go!! Let the Lean Madness Begin!

Toyota projects their first loss in 71 Years.

Now all of the ones that told us Leansters, "told-ya-so" can start thumbing their noses.

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At December 23, 2008 at 7:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two points to the told-ya-so'ers. One is hold the comments until we see just how Toyota responds (Hint: it WILL be much different than the Big 3, and will NOT lead them to bankruptcy). The second is – Toyota is sitting with $30-40 billion of cash on hand. So do you think they are in a better position to handle the downturn? (Hint: Yes!) And, by-the-way, the reason for the second point is the answer to the first point!

At December 23, 2008 at 8:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a company in the not-so-long-ago tech boom This network systems manufacturer was a key supplier to Cisco and during the boom they decided to implement Lean. They had the cash to invest in their processes/people as well as plenty of inventory to absord the slight reduction in capacity while projects teams were working. Well when the tech boom went to tech bust and Cisco was choking on about $2.25 Billion in inventory, most of their competition closed up. This firm was able to hang on because of their Lean investment. Yes, Lean was the deciding factor between death and survival. The impact of their improvements put cash in the bank to help them weather out the bust. Yet I believe the biggest impact was a cultural impact on the company. The employees were already problem solvers with and idea of what is required to be an agile and trusted supplier. The employees worked together to make more increases to their QCDS performance so that they could steal any market share from the competition.

In an environment of financial crisis, how many organizations can rapidly and successfully turn around their business while making the proper cultural changes? My opinion is that the Big 3 are the 'Titanics' of the auto industry. Any assistance provided to them will just be the equivalent of moving around the deck chairs. Honda and Toyota might have hit the same iceberg, but they designed their ship with a double hull and other features to stay afloat.

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