The Toyota Way and Open Source

More news of Toyota taking out GM -- Toyota’s Sales Projections Show It Surpassing G.M. And more analysts are pointing to the famous "Toyota Way" business processes the company uses as the critical factor. From the Times article:

Toyota’s rise would also prove a victory of sorts for its unique corporate culture, the so-called Toyota Way, which is rooted in an obsession with craftsmanship and constant improvement, or "kaizen." Analysts said the Toyota Way would likely become enshrined as the industry’s gold standard, and the model to mimic or surpass for new challengers from South Korea and China.

"Enshrined as the industry’s gold standard, and the model to mimic," eh? That sounds like open source coming to the auto industry. After all, Toyota's processes are open, aren't they? But the notion of simply mimicking someone else's processes sounds trivial. The implementation is just as important as the source or specification of any business process. And that's much more difficult to mimic because what makes an implementation special is buried deep within the culture of every person doing the implementing. It's not necessarily secret, but it's oftentimes incomprehensible.

Comments:

I wonder if the implementation of Toyota's success that is "...buried deep within the culture of every person..." has something to do with Jonathan Schwartz's statement in Nov. 13, 2006 FORTUNE: "There is no line between personal life and professional life, especially if you care a lot about what you do."

Posted by John Siewert on December 23, 2006 at 05:40 PM JST #

Jim, Reports are, a member of the TOYOTA family has been placed in management position eagerly awaiting confirmation as #1 GLOBAL vehicle manufacturer. Expect this fellow will become the NEW 'public face' of TOYOTA at such time. Enjoy the Holiday,

Posted by William R. Walling on December 24, 2006 at 03:46 AM JST #

hey, John. That's a great quote. I'm behind in my Schwartz reading, so I'll have to look that one up. I totally agree, by the way. Many parts of Sun are very entrepreneurial and you have the freedom to personalize your job and make it your own. You can take it too far, though, which I have done at times. :) I'm moderating now, though.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on December 25, 2006 at 03:11 PM JST #

William ... I'll look for that. I'm starting to follow Toyota very closely now.

Posted by Jim Grisanzio on December 25, 2006 at 03:13 PM JST #

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