Somewhat surprising to industry insiders, the CEO of Toyota Motor, Akio Toyoda, announced on January 26 his resignation, and he will step down as CEO on April 1, 2023, to become the chairman of the board. Hence, I will have a look at his impact on Toyota. However, just to be warned, if you expect glowing praise, you should look elsewhere. I believe he changed Toyota, a company I love, in a worrisome way. I am definitely not a fan of his work. Granted, being a CEO is not easy, and he did have to lead Toyota through a couple of crises (Recall,s Corona, etc.). Compared to other CEO’s, he is probably somewhere around average. But I believe he had a negative influence on the Toyota corporate culture.
All postst related to the history of lean, management, manufacturing, and any other topic covered in this blog.
The Impact of ChatGPT on the Future of Work
You may have heard of ChatGPT, the latest buzz in artificial intelligence. ChatGPT is a chatbot by OpenAI that can answer your questions and hold a conversation. And, it is very good at this. It can handle almost anything connected with text. This tool (and the many others that are likely to follow) has the ability to fundamentally change how we work. Let me show you.
250 Years of the Cromford Cotton Mill – Start of the Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution is arguably the most significant change in manufacturing history. Since it was a gradual process over almost a century, the exact start and end dates are hard to pin down. However, for me one of the key dates is the start of the first cotton mill in Britain, the Cromford Cotton Mill by Richard Arkwright. Construction of this mill started in 1771, and production began 1772, which is 250 years ago, hence time for me to write an anniversary post on the Cromford Cotton Mill.
Evolution of Process Placement at Toyota – Part 2
Toyota did not start out as a lean company, but evolved over time. This was also not an automatic process. It needed a lot of care and attention, as well as continuous improvement and PDCA. This is the second post of this short, two-post series on the path of Toyota from a messy and hard-to-manage job shop to a much more efficient flow shop.
Evolution of Process Placement at Toyota – Part 1
When setting up a new production – or even when rearranging an existing production – one important decision is how to arrange your processes. I have written a lot on line layout, but this post will look at how the arrangement of lines evolved at Toyota. Some of their insights are now accepted wisdoms in lean, but many companies still struggle with it. This post also looks into the manning of machines, especially multi-machine handling. The blog post is based on the appendix in the Toyota Handbook from 1973.
250 Years after the Birth of Eli Terry
Two hundred fifty years ago today, clockmaker Eli Terry was born on April 13, 1772 in (what is now) South Windsor, Connecticut, USA. He was one of the earliest industrialists using mass production with interchangeable parts in the USA, contemporary with the better-known muskets of Honoré Blanc in France (ca. 1785), and long before John Hancock Hall at the Harpers Ferry Armory (ca. 1824). His name is known mostly to nerds in manufacturing and horology, but I believe his achievements deserve recognition. Hence I will go back in history to look at his life.
50 Years after the Death of Lillian Evelyn Gilbreth
Fifty years ago today, Lillian Evelyn Gilbreth (May 24, 1878 – January 2, 1972) passed away. She was an early pioneer in optimizing and streamlining work, which is especially remarkable in a time when women were supposed to be at home in the kitchen instead of pursuing science and engineering. I already wrote briefly about her, her husband, and Frederick Winslow Taylor in my post The Tale of Taylor and Gilbreth. I also have her portrait, among other key people in the history of manufacturing, hanging in my office. Let’s have a look at the life of this very remarkable and outstanding woman!
A Brief History of Maintenance
At the suggestion of multiple readers, I would like to take a deeper look into maintenance, especially total productive maintenance (TPM). Maintaining your machines and tools is important for your business. In many places, maintenance seems to be more reactive: if it breaks, fix it. Often, a better approach would be proactive maintenance: maintain it so it doesn’t break in the first place. In this first post in this series of articles on maintenance, I would like to look a bit into the history of maintenance. Subsequent posts will look deeper into why we need to maintain our stuff and how to do it. The overarching theme is guided by total productive maintenance, but I won’t hesitate to give my critical opinion where necessary.