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    What Toyota Knows That the Big 3 Just Don’t Get!

    December 2008 | Filed under Irreverent Pastiche

    I’ll preface this by saying that I have absolutely no idea as to the origins of this piece.  It’s something that made its way into my inbox, and is now finding a place on this blog.  It may be off topic for a health related site, however, it does speak volumes as to state  of our extremely poor economic health — which has caused a great many of us to experience some sort of existential crisis.

    So… to the person who wrote this, all I have to say is: EXACTLY !!!  Now if the Execs at Ford, GM, and Chrysler would/could receive the same email that I did, MAYBE they just may FINALLY GET A CLUE and take some positive steps in the right direction… and I’m not talking about stepping up to the plate for yet another Government bailout!

    (And if anyone knows who wrote this, please feel free to give credit to h/her here


    A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River . Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

    On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

    The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.  A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

    Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing.

    Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.

    They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.

    Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents, and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

    They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1 person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.  It was called the ‘Rowing Team Quality First Program,’ with meetings, dinners, and free pens for the rower.  There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes, and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

    The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

    Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.  The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year’s racing team was out-sourced to India .

    The End.

    Here’s something else to think about:

    Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US , claiming they can’t make money paying American wages.

    TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US.   The last quarter’s results:

    TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.

    Ford folks are still scratching their heads.

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