Made by Toyota: Aiming for global quality assurance

Koichi Ina, Toyota Material Handling

Since 1957, when Toyota began exporting the Crown to the United States, we have expanded the scope of our automobile sales across the entire globe. During the almost 50 years since we first began exports, Toyota vehicles have found their way to more than 170 countries and regions throughout the world. As our exports have continued to develop so has the localization of our production bases, in line with our policy of “producing vehicles where the demand exists.” Currently, there are 52 bases in 27 different countries and regions. In addition, there are design and R&D bases in seven locations overseas, showing that “from development and design to production, sales and service, Toyota has now achieved consistent globalization as well as localization.”

There are a number of hurdles that this globalization of production has to overcome. Among these the most important is “quality assurance,” which requires that “no matter where Toyota vehicles are made, they have the same quality.” To put it another way, we don’t put a label on our vehicles which says “Made in such and such a country;” we put the same label on all vehicles which reads “Made by Toyota.”

This means that we need to spread Toyota’s manufacturing philosophy — the “Toyota Way” — to all of our overseas bases. And on top of this, it is important that we minimize the necessary support that comes from Japan and let each of our overseas bases become self-reliant. For example, the Toyota plant that recently commenced production in Texas made maximum use of the know-how which has been cultivated over the past 20 years by the Toyota plant in Kentucky. This is just the latest example of how the localized “Toyota Way” is being passed on overseas.

Toyota believes that the way to achieve “quality assurance” and to “spread the Toyota Way” is by educating people: “Making things is about developing people.” So, in 2003, we established the Global Production Center (GPC) within the Motomachi Plant in Toyota City. Furthermore, in 2006, we established regional GPCs in the United States, the United Kingdom and Thailand to carry out corresponding activities in the North American, European, and Asia-Pacific regions respectively.

Part of the “Toyota Way” is “Respect for People.” “People” in this case, of course, means customers, but it also includes the people in the local communities and Toyota employees. Toyota values all of its stakeholders and strives to meet the expectation of people in every part of the world for it to be a good corporate citizen.— I hope that the details contained here will show you what Toyota is doing to meet this goal.


Overview of Globalizing and Localizing Manufacturing Productionl
Subscribe to Machinery Lubrication

About the Author