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The following "2011 New Year" message was delivered January 14 by Toyota president Akio Toyoda:
"Toyota wants to be a company that is chosen by customers" and "Toyota wants to be a company that makes customers happy they chose us."
These are the conclusions that I have reached out of the many experiences of the past year.
It goes without saying that Toyota is only one of the options customers can choose. But when customers choose Toyota, we want to make sure they are happy with that choice.
The entire Toyota organization will unite in the effort to achieve this goal, for this year and beyond.
We are in the process of formulating a new vision toward 2020, a vision that will be the guideline for focusing our unity.
With this vision, I want to present the specific description of "a company that makes customers happy they chose Toyota" and the prerequisites to realizing that vision, such as "building better cars," becoming the "most admired company in town" and "establishing a strong business base," as well as a roadmap for getting there—how we put down strong roots, how we grow our branches, how we blossom and how we produce the fruit of our vision.
I hope this vision will inspire all 300,000 Toyota members around the world and that it will lift the hopes and expectations of communities across the globe.
In April we hope to be able to show you the vision, including the directions and targets for a medium-term business structure reform plan to achieve the vision's goals.
Year to Enhance Regional Management
Obviously, different things make different customers happy, and trends will likely differ considerably from region to region. This means that Toyota must play different roles in different parts of the world.
I have said repeatedly that in controlling different regions, we should not use the logic that Toyota has developed for Japan. Rather, we want each region to create its own vision and strengthen its own local management. Because Toyota is a multinational company, it must be the "most admired company in town" in each of the different regions it serves. This is the year in which we begin to take concrete steps toward achieving that goal.
While the head office will look out over the world and determine the basic direction of "what to do," our basic approach will be to leave "how to do it" up to the local organization or those that are familiar with local circumstances.
"An individualized Toyota Way with a Face" Is Important
It should go without saying that in becoming "a company that makes customers happy they chose Toyota," our primary focus is on the initiatives we began last year for restoring customer trust.
As we move up to the date of the "Toyota restart," February 24, the date of the U.S. Congress hearings one year ago, I want to ask each of you to take practical actions in these initiatives; specifically, to promote "The Toyota Way with a face."
Last year, "Our Attitudes" was issued, and I believe that we are well on our way to putting it into practice.
For example, I asked that we change the way we hold our internal meetings and events and that they become more of a "handmade" process, in which attendees take active roles. As a result, we have been able to experience stronger, healthier teamwork.
This year I would like you to take a step forward and incorporate "Our Attitudes" into your own workplaces and the jobs of each individual, so as to practice "My Toyota Way."
I want to see things like a "Toyota Way for the treasurer," a "Toyota Way for the chief engineer," and a "Toyota Way for territorial Divisions working with independent distributors." In short, we need an individualized Toyota Way "with a face."
Achieving Earnings and Creating a Strong Base of Monozukuri
Another priority this year, on a par with restoring customer trust, is to realize earnings that will enable us to create a strong base of business and, more particularly, adapt to changes in foreign exchange rates.
I do not want to relocate production simply because of something like foreign exchange rates.
Toyota's production facilities have all established a solid foundation of monozukuri, though they have evolved differently and reached different degrees of maturity, depending on the timing of their establishment, their size and local community characteristics.
To be more specific, at each of our locations there is a mechanism or culture for achieving long-term human resources development, focusing on OJT() to train people in skills, professional abilities and technical expertise; a concentration of suppliers with excellent quality and delivery times, or a just-in-time logistics network.
(On the Job Training)
Relocating production facilities means abandoning the foundation of monozukuri. It is not something I want to do.
If we are simply unable to make a profit, however, we may be forced to move our production elsewhere.
Conversely, if we can create an organization that can turn a profit even in this difficult environment, we will be a company that can bring greater happiness to our customers through monozukuri in each region.
Doing that requires that you stick to your work, stick to your own Toyota Way and never turn back, regardless of circumstances. Each and every day we must improve the quality of our work, progressing one step at a time—even a half step.
By advancing through that process we will all grow; we will all experience satisfaction and achieve rewards. This is what leads to the establishment of a strong base of business.
For the Resurgence of Toyota
Unfortunately this year, last year's challenges will continue, and it will be as difficult to see what lies ahead. But that does not mean we should be pessimistic.
Our predecessors left us with enormous insights, skills and expertise, and we have added to them. We have the culture to do that.
We have the solidarity and the ability to focus—which we proved last year, in our efforts to restore profitability and in our response to the hearings.
We have the technology, as demonstrated in our hybrids, and we have the practical skills for responding to changes in production.
We are now laying the groundwork for the next generation, as you can see in our joint venture with Tesla Motors,Inc. and our participation in the smart grid field-testing at Rokkasho-Mura.
If we draw on these strengths, Toyota will bounce back. I want to provide the kind of leadership that will foster our resurgence.