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Hoshin Kanri in Action

To understand the hoshin kanri process at Toyota more clearly, it may be helpful to follow one example from beginning to end. In this case, we’ll look at how Global Vision 2010 was cascaded down to shop-to-shop benchmarking among North American plants. As we noted earlier, one of the outgrowths of Global Vision 2010 was an emphasis on self-reliance. Expectations were highest for North America, which was the most mature of Toyota’s overseas operations.

Achieving Self-Reliance via Internal Benchmarking to Develop Leaders

Why would Toyota think of internally sharing best practices as a solution to the problem of self-reliance? The goal was to increase the learning that North American plants were getting from one another. As you can imagine, the “go and see” approach leads to lots of plant-to-plant visits as team members, group leaders, and executives learn from more seasoned Toyota plants. Yet, when these activities were examined through the lens of self-reliance, it became clear that the transfer of knowledge was essentially happening in only one direction: from Japanese plants to individual American plants. Even the American plants were not adequately sharing with one another what they had learned from Japanese plants.


  

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