The Toyota Way

Essay by Margie1College, UndergraduateA-, February 2004

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Since 1937 when it was first established, Toyota Motor Corporation has contributed to the development of the automobile industry and society by providing people with automobiles. Toyota manufactures automobiles in 25 countries and regions throughout the world. Their vehicles are sold in more than 160 countries and regions under the Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu, and Hino brand names. March 31, 2002 fiscal year end Toyota Motor Corporation and its subsidiaries sold 5.54 million cars, trucks, and buses worldwide. In terms of vehicles sold, Toyota is the world's #3 automobile manufacturer.


Sakichi Toyoda, founder of the Toyota organization, was born in 1867 his father was a poor carpenter. Sakichi contributed greatly to the development of Japan through his many inventions. The most famous of his inventions was the automatic textile loom. What made Sakichi's invention of the loom so unique was that if the thread broke the loom would automatically stop.

With the belief that machines could stop automatically whenever malfunctioning remains one of the important standards of Toyota today, or other wise known as "pokeyoke" in Japanese. Sakichi made many inventions in his search for a more efficient yet economical loom and in 1926, Toyoda Automatic Loom Works was established. During Sakichi's lifetime, he acquired many different patents and in 1929 he sold the patent rights for his loom to Platt Brothers for 100,000 pounds of sterling. Sakichi gave this to his son, Kiichiro, saying "I worked hard with the automatic loom and earned success. Now, it's your turn to do the same with the automobile." Kiichiro did and in 1937, the automobile division split off from Toyoda Automatic Loom Works and became Toyota Motor Company.

In 1951, two Toyota executives visited the US to study modern management methods. The most valued of visits was with the...