Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Toyota CEO Starts to Question Company's Core Philosophy


The COVID-19 pandemic has made Toyota Motor Corporation CEO Akio Toyoda to question the carmaker’s Genchi-Genbutsu philosophy. The phrase, translated roughly as, “go and see for yourself” builds on the idea that in order to solve a problem quickly and more efficiently is to go where they exist and analyze the root cause.

However, with Toyoda spending much of his time at a Toyota training facility he’s now questioning one of Toyota’s core tenet. Quoting from Bloomberg:
“We’re taking a fresh look at the assumptions of ‘Genchi-Genbutsu’,” Toyoda, 64, said after announcing Toyota’s financial results and forecast for an 80 percent decline in operating profit for the fiscal year through March. The outbreak has forced automakers to shut factories and showrooms, leading to a plunge in vehicle sales. 
Toyoda said it’s still important to see things for yourself, but for the right reasons and at the right times. But it’s also becoming clearer that people shouldn’t be traveling all the time just to attend meetings, he said. Underscoring the point, the CEO said he spends 30 percent less time in meetings, and cut related paperwork by a half. 
“Until now, when employees met me, they would prepare briefing materials, or have someone else prepare them, and then use information that’s one or two weeks old for discussions,” Toyoda said. “Now, I can just get on a video conference without any materials and deal with any issues then and there.”
Normally, Japan places emphasis on face-to-face meetings and paper documents. However, with the Japanese government urging businesses to let employees work from home, these practices have come under scrutiny. Without a doubt, the pandemic will change Japanese workplace habits, and likely for the better.

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