It turns out that today the Toyota company is engaged not only in the production of cars. It produces a variety of products, from robots to the erection of elite cottages. But of course the main thing for such a multifaceted company is the production of cars, because it is the largest producer in the world.
It is also worth noting that thanks to the Toyota company, interesting approaches to management emerged. It is possible to mention at least the “just-in-time” delivery system and kaizen. So the name of the company is constantly on hearing. In addition, it was she who became the main engine of the entire Japanese economy in the last century.
Sakishi Toyoda, born in 1867 in a carpenter’s family, loved to dream. He wanted to become an inventor to change people’s lives with his discoveries. Sakishi was the oldest child in the family, according to unwritten national traditions, and he was the one who should inherit his father’s profession. It’s good that in those days the old traditions were already looked through. So young Sakishi got a chance to become someone else and fulfill his dream. Toyoda began to work on looms, plunging into this industry for a long time, beginning in 1890.
Sakishi did not have a professional education, he was trained in practice. In 1894, the beginning inventor had a son, Kiishiro. It is in 20 years that he will help his father create an automatic loom. That device will form the basis for the emergence of a new company Toyda family – Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. So there was a famous company.
And in 1930, Sakishi Toyoda died, and the family business was led by his son Kiishiro. They say that in fact, Sakishi always dreamed of doing cars. Legends say that his last request to his son was to switch to this direction. Whatever it was, but Kiishiro sold the patent for the family treasure – an automated loom. The new owners of the invention were the British from Platt Brothers & Co.. Ltd., and Toyoda received 100 thousand pounds.
These funds were invested by him in a new division of the company that created his own car. It is worth noting that the production was carried out from scratch. The company began by simply copying successful American models. And this approach, in general, is typical of the Japanese industrial culture. Local engineers prefer to copy something good until perfection appears. And only because it is already possible to start an independent development.
However, even just copying was not so easy. For a long time engineers could not perform a full range of works. Only in 1936 Toyoda Automatic Loom Works introduced Toyoda AA, which, of course, almost completely copied the American Chrysler Airflow. Glad to success, the company introduced its own logo, and soon the truck. He immediately began to export to North China.
Already at the initial stage of production, the company began to adhere to some innovative approaches. Being a weaving company, Toyoda adhered to the principle that due to problems one worker should not stop production. As a result, finished products had minimal chances of getting married. The same tactic was used in the production of Japanese cars.
In 1937, Kiishiro Toyoda, seeing the success of his automobile direction, decided to separate it into a separate enterprise. It was named Toyota Motor Company. Obviously, in the title the letter “d” was replaced by “t”. And on this account has its own legend. It turns out that when writing the word Toyoda, the hieroglyph “d” is difficult to derive. It is necessary to do the whole nine strokes with a brush, but this number is traditionally unfortunate for Japan. Kiishiro showed superstition, deciding that it is not necessary to deal with something that can badly affect sales. So instead of the hieroglyph “d” appeared “t”, which required eight strokes with a brush.But for Japan this is already a lucky number!
For a European, such attention to the details of writing letters may seem ridiculous, but we simply have other cultural traditions. It is difficult for us to understand why Toyota employees like to sing the hymn of their company and in general work for the company all their lives. So the Toyota company was born, which produces cars. She quickly led – the government made an order for three thousand trucks. Due to this, the company received funds for further research. After all, the Japanese understood that on one copy you will not go far and sooner or later you will have to produce an original product.
And in 1938 in the city of Koromo the first Toyota plant was opened, entirely focused on the creation of cars. And the money for its construction gave the government the very same order. Today the city of Koromo no longer exists – in honor of the company it bears the name of Toyota. During the Second World War, the company produced military trucks for the imperial army, but due to the shortage, the design was simplified, for example, with one headlight. It is believed that one of the factors of the rapid defeat of Japan was the bombing of the allies of the city of Aichi, when the Toyota plants were destroyed.
In 1947 the company, recovering, began to produce commercial passenger models SA. Then the company’s strategy was laid down for many years. It was based on the repurchase of companies and the establishment of subsidiaries that could ensure the production of components for cars throughout the entire production cycle. So the company secured itself from problems with the supply of spare parts. At the same time, the company began to cultivate a “just-in-time” delivery system.
Thanks to her details came to the warehouse just in time for the production of the car. This made it possible to avoid huge deposits of unnecessary components as yet. But really high-quality cars began to appear only in the early 1950s, with a complete transition to the creation of more or less own cars. At that moment, another separate company was born, Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. Its goal – the sale of finished products.
In the 1950s and 1960s, a significant modernization was carried out at the factories of the Japanese company. Then the principles of “kaizen” are introduced into the company. The word itself is a composite, includes two parts, denoting “change” and “wisdom.” The principles of kaizen can be considered a kind of philosophy designed for gradual improvement. To achieve perfection, you just have to change for the better, even slowly, slowly, but every minute. The principles of constant improvement by the beginning of the 1960s were already in full use at Toyota plants.
And in 1951 another management innovation appeared in the company – the system for proposing ideas. Any employee of the firm could make suggestions on how to improve any process that takes place in the company. Today, such things seem normal for any large company, but half a century ago it was a curiosity. Already later this successful approach was copied by Western companies.
And in 1957 a branch of the Japanese company, Toyota Motor Sales USA, was opened in America itself. The supply of cars from the Land of the Rising Sun began in the USA. True, the first experience was unsuccessful. In the “automobile Mecca” it was not easy to declare itself, which resulted in the bad sales of Japanese cars. And they responded poorly to American conditions. The first export version of the company, Toyota Crown, did not compete with the residents of the States with the image of a good car. Soon the company launched a six-year program of reforms, which allowed to improve the quality of new models.
A spurt in terms of exports from Toyota fell in 1973 with the onset of a world oil crisis. National economies suffered losses from individual enterprises, and for the Japanese company this situation only benefited. The fashion included economical cars, which Toyota immediately advertised in the US.In 1982, together with General Motors, the Japanese built their first factory on the territory of America. And to work this enterprise will be no less effective than that of the Japanese branch. And in the late 80’s a new Lexus brand was born in the US.
This brand of luxury cars has created Toyota, with its help it was possible to press on the market of such classics as Mercedes and Cadillac. Currently, Toyota is the world’s largest machine manufacturer, it is still true to the principle of kaizen, continuing to improve. The company was able for the first time in 76 years to remove from the throne of the leader of Americans from General Motors. But Toyota is discovering new horizons, intending, in particular, to make a statement in the world of robotics.
Recently, the former head of the company said that in the next ten years it is the creation of robots that can become the main direction for the company. The main development of Toyota is robots-partners. They were created in close cooperation with the Tokyo University of Technology and other companies. Initially, it was planned to create such robots that would help a man in the production of cars. The development took into account the presence of such qualities as dexterity, physics, intelligence and flexibility. One of the partners of Toyota recently showed on his presentation how he can play the violin.
This robot is the most famous concept, whose utility is questionable. For the present, the company has failed to create a robot that could replace human production. The attention of the Japanese company to robotics makes us also draw a sharp drop in the birth rate in the country. In the future, it may turn out that in Japan simply will not be enough for qualified employees and there will be nobody to look after the old people. So in this regard, the development of robot partners is a promising business.
Today, Toyota employs more than 320 thousand people, the company’s turnover is more than 200 billion dollars, and net profit of more than 2 billion. The Japanese giant is on the eighth place in the list of Fortune Global 500 – the world’s largest companies. The company owes this success to the business principles laid down in it by the founders and the Japanese national traits – diligence, perseverance, the desire to learn.