Apart from the KAIZEN approach being widely practiced in Japan, the one thing which, despite belonging to their culture, has given the Japanese manufactures a competitive edge is their methodology of inviting open discussion from each n’ every employees of the company on regular basis.
Toyota has proved itself to be the world’s best not only in terms of automobiles manufacturing an d assembling but compared to all manufacturing concerns any where in the world. Achieving the status of the market leader wasn’t an easy task! Toyota (Japan) however made it possible. It was only through the participative approach employed by them as a basic requirement of their very corporate culture.
Toyota motor corporation (TMC) has been the world’s third largest automaker (2001) offering full range of models from mini-vehicles to large trucks. Global sales of its Toyota & Lexus brands, combined with those of Daihatsu and Hino, totaling 6.17 million units in the calendar year 2002 (Goldoftas & Levine, 1999).
On September 11, 2003 it was reported that Toyota gained a learned leading position on the ‘Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI)’ in the 4 automobile sectors.
The growth that Toyota has been enjoying is not a one night growth but is part of a longer chain that stems out of their very cultural norms and values. Katsuaki Watanabe, the president of Toyota has much to be accredited with in regard of the Toyota’s recent overwhelming and world renowned growth factor. Toyota’s success is not only because eof any tools or equipment they use; but the encouragement by the there top management people such as Watanabe, who allow the employees to experiment and thus achieve a higher result regarding what they do in the company’s production process.
Be it as simple as installing a seat to as complex as designing and offering a new model to the production department. The Toyota Corporation has trusted its employees in delivering their best and they do it very-well. The time is a huge constraint in any organization especially regarding critical and/or strategic decisions regarding the future plans; competitors’ move etc. at Toyota, Watanabe like other of his predecessors has continued the practice even in the time of so much rapid advancements in the technology.
The Toyota employees had the solution to the time management too. Each employee knew very well about what he/she was responsible to do and how they did it. At the end of each day when they were gathered they were asked to go through what they did and how they think they can improve it. This reduces the time taken by mangers to keep wandering about which topic they would be covering and the can get the accurate information about each n’ every scenario of what has been going on.
In participative leadership, open and easy way communication is critical. Watanabe ensured that and at the production facilities every one assembles in the huge hall assigned for the assembly. This is a step to have a clear communication session between the top management and the other member of the organization.
The culture of sharing ideas and the social networking with friends and colleges is part of their practices and they are used to it.
Watanabe has been successful in delegating both pleasant and unpleasant task to the employees after giving them enough authority and responsibility regarding their tasks. He as the president, devised the plan of clarifying goal sto each and every employee and to provide support to them so that they can work at their best and update company with confidence on any improvements that they think are necessary, hence resulting in a cumulative positive effect on the overall performance of the company creating a synergy of individual efforts to achieve corporate objectives via allowing effective participation of employees so that they feel that they have a “say” in the organization’s decision making.
The participation of employees, at Toyota, along with Katsuaki Watanabe has yielded significant benefits.
Adler Paul S., Goldoftas Barbara & Levine David I. (1999) Flexibility Versus Efﬁciency? A Case Study of Model Changeovers in the Toyota Production System: Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.