Why Toyota Motor Company is a Great Learning Organization
“At the brink of bankruptcy in post-war Japan, Toyota Motor Corp, LTD., was forced to split its sales from its production operations in 1950, by creating Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. (Japan), as a condition for obtaining financial assistance.” (Toyota, 2007) Each company concentrated its resources into its own area of responsibility. This continued for 32 years, but Toyota realized that in order to efficiently compete within its industry, the two companies must be combined into one. The two companies finally merged in July of 1982 as the new Toyota Motor Company.
Today, Toyota’s models are among the best-selling and top-rated vehicles in their class. For example, both the Corolla and the Camry are considered more economical than some of their competitors due to the higher gas mileage. The company realized that in order to compete within its industry, re-structuring along with continued innovation were essential. This requires strong organizational culture and job satisfaction along with effective training.
“Since 1983, TFS has grown from a small company of eight associates to more than 3000, with over $80 billion in managed assets, serving 2.3 million customers under the Toyota Financial Services and Lexus Financial Services market brands.” (Toyota, 2007) The company continues to grow and training becomes an issue. The company has had to develop training programs for new employees and offer continuing education programs in order for existing employees to update their knowledge and skills. Toyota is very successful and undoubtedly chaotic at times, however, the company does have very clear job descriptions and functions. This, along with Toyota’s training program helps reduce chaos to a certain extent.
As consumers we hear how many older model Toyotas are still on the road and have had substantially less problems some of their competing makes and models. This definitely positively affects the reputation of the company. Individually are more inclined to purchase vehicle that hold their value, require less maintenance and are reliable. Personally, I can attest to the fact that I have driven my 2007 Toyota since it was new and have only had to have one part replaced in 7.5 years. It was while the vehicle was still under warranty. That is pretty impressive.
The company advertising slogan is, "Let's go places". It indicates the company intends to make quality, reliable vehicles that consumers can depend on to meet their commute and travel needs. The company also intends to be a leader within the industry. Toyota strives to "go" to the top of the industry. The company does continue to be a leader with the Camry being a top-selling model and the Corolla also being a major player.
Changing behavior and mind-sets based on experience is characteristic of a learning organization. This may sound pretty basic, but many organizations fail to acknowledge certain truths or facts and, instead, repeat dysfunctional behavior. Toyota is a strong company because it modified the organization as needed to change with the needs and desires of the economy and with its consumers.
Toyoto Motor Company. Retrieved from http://www.toyota.com.