What can businesses learn from the car manufacturing giant?

The Toyota Way is a set of principles and behaviours that are key to the firm’s managerial approach. The Toyota Way is supported by two main pillars – continuous improvement and respect for people.

The management team at Toyota are taught to never be satisfied with where they are and to continuously work to improve the business by putting forward new ideas.

Toyota was an early adopter of Lean Manufacturing. Henry Ford is credited with being the first person to integrate a production process from start to finish, and Toyota applied this philosophy to increase efficiency across its manufacturing processes. Ultimately, Lean Manufacturing is focused on eliminating waste and increasing efficiency. Although it was created with manufacturing in mind, it can be applied to almost any business.

Toyota also focused on improving its processes through communication. The focus on communicating at all levels across the organisation from product development to marketing and from engineering to customer care is key to the success of the business. This level of communication ensures that opportunities to improve processes are communicated across the business, which further drives efficiency.

Another key aspect of the Toyota Way is to add value by developing your people. Toyota strives to grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others. A key understanding is that success is based on the team, not the individual.

Toyota’s managers are encouraged to go and see operations across the firm. Without experiencing the situation first hand, managers will not understand how it can be improved. In summary, Toyota encourages best practice across all aspects of its operations, which translates to a more successful business. We can all learn from that.