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Teamwork in the Organization of Toyota

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Introduction

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is among the leading automakers that provides a full range of models from mini-vehicles to large trucks. It has been noted to be a company with excellent human resource standards and a continuous and overall interest of pursuing harmonious growth and enhancing profitability. At Toyota, the employees have maintained a culture of ‘The Toyota Way’ by continually receiving training in the ‘Toyota Production System’. Through this the company has fostered various work value practices. Toyota has adopted motivational and teamwork practices with astounding success. Toyota believes that human resource is the hub of the corporate system; hence, improving motivation and team work practices of employees is the key of maintaining a strong culture (Toyota n.d.).This paper will discuss motivational and teamwork practices employed by the company.

Motivational Practices

One of Toyota’s keys to success has been its dedication to ensuring employee motivation. Toyota has been able to implement its motivational practices by offering an assured lifetime employment for its employees. It has focused on kaizen or continuous improvement by motivating its employees through investing considerable resources to training and education. With regards to the same, Toyota has implemented motivational practices on the women employees by ensuring that they are able to work and raise children simultaneously and build their career visions autonomously and actively. Besides, it has created an on-site childcare facility designed to assist employees fulfill their child rearing duties and their work-related tasks at the same time. Additionally, Toyota’s management has created bimonthly family days (including staff members and relatives) to travel to upcountry trips and hosted birthday parties for all its employees (Sisodia, Wolfe, & Sheth, 2007).

Reward systems are undeniably among the major motivating practices the company utilizes to encourage its staff. In order to motivate employees, Toyota utilizes rewards practices by providing incentives including home loans, sport areas and insurances, paid vacation, and private health and dental care. Toyota has been categorized among the top 10 with regards to the same. Furthermore, the reward practice encompasses a general gain-sharing program anchored in realizing annual profit and quality goals for the organization. It has also afforded a pay scale founded on three elements of company profitability: one bonus is related to seniority, the second bonus payment is linked to team’s performance, another bonus payment is allocated to worker’s merit, and finally, employees’ wages is normally raised from 85 percent to 115 percent according to the allocated amount.  In the light of these, Toyota Company has created a reward system for employees whose suggestions have been executed. During 2000, approximately 70 percent of employees in California NUMMI plant, contributed in providing roughly 18,000 suggestions and more than 90 percent of them were executed. In the United States, each Toyota employee contributes approximately 36 percent of suggestions annually or three per month minimally. Globally, the Toyota Corporation in-house suggestion scheme produces an excess of two million ideas annually.  According to statistics, the most noteworthy information is that over 90 percent of the given suggestions are executed globally. Through this, the company and employees have benefitted by saving millions and receiving rewards with payout respectively. Regarding motivational practice, Toyota has utilized a system of internal promotion which ensures casual workers have a possibility to obtain permanent contracts and develop into team leaders, foremen, and also managers. This practice permits workers to climb within the hierarchy and facilitates a number of them to become minor managers. As a result, Toyota improvement of its employee’s motivation has made the most favorable use of its human resource.

During 2002, Toyota’s head office, initiated a Diversity Project founded on its Global Vision 2010 which is aimed towards promoting the development of environments and enabling employees from across the globe with diverse cultures, values, and abilities to experience self-realization and motivation as individuals. The F1 project is another practice that was initiated in 1990 by Toyota Corporation with the aim of being involved in Motor Sports. It has been a successful tool that has assisted to motivate Toyota’s 260,000 strong personnel around the globe. The employees have been extremely motivated in the Toyota TF103, the racing care that races in the F1 Grand Prix, which was built with similar technological systems to their traded production cars (Cornelissen & Cornelissen, 2011).

Toyota’s approach is to constantly draw out the motivation in its employees. The education offered to new employees has a huge impact in their lives at the company. In the light of these, general technical employees are offered two months of factory training in the initial first year and three months of sales training in the second year after being recruited. The main purpose of sales training is to provide the employees a feeling of direct relation between their jobs and the sales floor. In this case, Toyota is able to impact a lifetime of motivation in the employees by temporarily stopping their usual jobs and having them experience the competitive environment of sales. Another motivational practice the company utilizes is its constant talk of crisis. The primary motive force, holding Toyota’s prosperity in the 20th century, was a sense of crisis in the company and an unquenchable drive to lessen costs.

Teamwork Practices

Toyota Company has a unique human resource policy as it tends to raise its leaders from within. By raising its leaders, the company does not have to regularly recruit candidates from outside. It has mainly adopted a policy of ‘learning by doing’, teamwork approach. Toyota Company mainly focus on recruiting and maintaining employees who express drive and enthusiasm, team-work and co-operation, desire to embrace challenge, and commitment to responsibilities.  Prior to the recruitment of new employees, the Toyota’s managers’ selection is based on whether they demonstrate teamwork within the one-week screening process. Subsequently, Toyota’s orientation, training, appraisal and incentive programs, all highlight motivation and teamwork. Putting the company’s interests above the employee’s interest is fundamental to good teamwork. Employees in Toyota’s company usually share knowledge with others in the team. Teamwork has been clearly manifested in the company due to the lengthy time and huge costs invested with regards to on-the-job training. A notable example is the proven track record in Toyota Motor Manufacturing, USA. Usually, team building commences with the employees commitment to the teamwork standards, which is formally written in Toyota’s Team Member Handbook.  Toyota production workers, design engineers, and marketing experts work as a team to recognize problems, discover solutions, and develop better technology with the aim of eliminating performance gaps that they have recognized. The entire factory work is arranged around work teams of approximately five to ten employees in charge of door installation, stamping tool, power train conveyance, die and body weld, and assembly team. There are no employees positioned on the plant floor, however, all employees are part of the work team. With the regards to these, several practices have been adopted by Toyota to ensure smooth running of work teams. Besides the Team Member Handbook, the company has established a team member activity association. The company ensures that thorough teamwork training is provided. Teamwork and closeness is enhanced as the work teams freely hire and choose their own new member. Moreover, all employees share group work, take initiative in solving problems, and utilize their creativity to develop all phases of the production systems.

The strong corporate culture that is founded on the ‘The Toyota Way’ has enabled the company to be among the most accepted companies globally.  Toyota facilitates teamwork practices by ensuring that the employees from top management level to lower management levels take proactive steps and act as a team in order to enhance productivity and resolve problems. Instead of bureaucracy and supervisory control over employees, Toyota Corporation ensures that team members take accountability for and pride in their endeavors. The team-oriented work environment on Toyota’s production line and the company’s co-alignment with its suppliers and dealers/ customers outside the organizational edge has emphasized its main values of efficiency and cost reduction. In order to attain these values, Toyota’s team has adopted management concepts which comprise of just-in-time, autonomation, flexibility, and creativity. Just-in-time concept denotes that the team members adjust to pressure in order to achieve co-alignment between the foregoing process and the later process in the production system. Automation denotes how man and machine collaborate to manage defects.  Inside the Toyota plants, high-speed management teamwork characteristics of permanent dissatisfaction and concentration are predominantly pertinent to achieving autonomation. Moreover, the team members ensure that flexibility is realized by working in unison. Team work enables the workforce switch from one machine to another smoothly and efficiently, hence, achieving high productivity. The U-turn layout of the Toyota machines is designed in such a way that team spirit is pertinent. Additionally, the workforce capitalizes on creative thinking by actively participating in quality control circles where they make improvements in all issues concerning the company. Besides, adopting speedy and effective communication and maintaining high-level teamwork between the factory and the employees is crucial to fulfilling the above concepts.

Conclusion

Toyota Company has embraced motivation and teamwork of employees as its key values. In order for Toyota Company to uphold lifetime employment for employees, it should continue to sustain the above practices over decades. Toyota has turned the company into a success not only through tools and quality improvement methods but also by deeper awareness rooted in having an understanding of its employees. The above discussed practices clearly state why Toyota “keeps getting better and better and better.” Being considered as the world’s best automobile company, Toyota should continuously improve its human resource practices in order to gain greater success in its corporate culture. 

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