The Toyota Way Essay

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MANAGING FOR THE LONG TERM | Lessons from Toyota’s Long Drive marketed bigger, better-looking, and plusher cars than Toyota did – although its soulless creations were more reliable and fuel efficient. The Japanese manufacturer closed the gap little by little, improvement by improvement. In 1970 GM had a 40% chunk of the U.S. car and light-trucks market, whereas Toyota had only a 2% sliver. Toyota’s market share inched up to 3% in 1980, to 8% in 1990, and to 9% in 2000, entering double digits for the first time only in 2006, when it rose to 13% and GM’s fell to 26%. Toyota’s ascension is best captured by the Japanese word jojo: “slowly, gradually, and steadily. ” Every executive has two questions about Toyota today: What can my company learn from the world’s greatest manufacturer? and (sotto voce) How is Toyota handling success? The answer to the former is obvious (plenty), but the jury is still out on the latter. Toyota is more confident than ever in some ways. The company is proud of the fact that its management principles are different from those taught in Bschools. Senior executives take great pleasure in explaining that other companies find it difficult to emulate Toyota because its management tools matter less than its mind-set. To some observers, the company has become insufferable. For instance, after it unveiled the Lexus LS600h L at the New York Auto Show in April 2006, the influential blogger Peter DeLorenzo complained, “The tone, the language, and everything about the presentation confirmed to me that the ‘creeping’ arrogance that has been brewing at Toyota for years has finally blossomed into full bloom for everyone to see. ” A long and deep look at Toyota, especially in Japan, reveals a different picture. The company appears to be running scared. Toyota’s executives were blindsided last year by a series of problems with its automobiles that

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