Toyota Times News

【Special Lecture】Akio Toyoda's 14-year battle | Steadfast Reforms: Lessons from TPS


From his birth into the Toyoda family to his embattled 14 years as president, Akio Toyoda gave a speech reflecting on his life so far and a message to corporate managers.

“It was all a fight.” Chairman Akio Toyoda left this comment for the Toyota Times camera and headed to the venue.

On January 13, the chairman presented a lecture on the theme of the Toyota Production System (TPS) to 200 corporate managers and executives gathering for the general meeting of the NPS Management Institute*.
*The research association is made up of over 45 companies that work to optimize manufacturing based on the Toyota Production System (TPS).

The theme of the lecture was “What TPS Means to Me – The Fight to Restore Authority to the Genba.” It was 90 minutes long, including the speech and a Q&A session.

Unable to escape the label of “the Toyota prince,” Chairman Akio was always struggling with the question, “Who am I?” He found emotional support in his relationship with TPS.

Words like Kanban do not appear in the lecture. It focuses on TPS as a management philosophy rather than just as a manufacturing practice.

After the lecture was a Q&A session with attendees. “What do you change and not change as a business leader?” “What is the mindset of a leader?” “What message do you have for future generations?”

Our digest is a packed 60 minutes of business leader Akio Toyoda’s story of his constant fight to insist on genchi-genbutsu and realities. Don’t miss this footage available only at Toyota Times.

00:00 Opening
01:45 Introduction
03:17 Who am I? Before my encounter with TPS
16:13 The fight to break Toyota’s walls|Reforming dealerships and used cars, making ever-better cars
26:34 Becoming president in a management crisis | Falling into the red and the public hearings
31:24 The fight to restore the essence of Toyota|Reforming products and people
44:08 In conclusion | I won't let Toyota go backwards
46:48 Q1 What to change and not change
49:16 Q2 The future of carmaking at Toyota
54:44 Q3 The mindset of a leader
58:44 Q4 A message for Japan’s manufacturing industry