Toyota Lean Global meeting 2023: advancing Toyota Production System across regions

The Toyota Lean Global meeting for 2023 marked an essential event on the calendar of the Toyota Material Handling Group. Held on September 6th and 7th, this annual gathering serves as a platform for the group’s local entities worldwide to come together, exchange ideas, and review how they are leveraging the Toyota Production System (TPS) in their Market Operations. The host for this year's event was Toyota Material Handling France in Bussy Saint Georges, who invited representatives from Toyota Material Handling Group, Toyota Material Handling International, Toyota Material Handling North America (Toyota & Raymond), and Toyota Material Handling Europe.

Day One:sharing achievements and plans 

The first day of the two-day meeting was dedicated to presentations by each of the participating regions. Representatives from each region took turns to share their achievements and lay out their plans for the fiscal year 2024. The team also delved into the Lean thinking approach towards customers and employees' TPS experience. 

One of the central themes that emerged was the commitment to providing a unique Toyota experience to employees. Toyota has always been equally recognised for its products and for its strong corporate culture. This involves integrating TPS principles into everyday work, fostering a sense of continuous improvement, and nurturing a culture of respect among employees. 

Another key topic was the customer approach, encapsulated in the term "Optimise—Connect—Automate." This signifies the company's dedication to streamlining processes to optimise efficiency, connecting with customers at a deeper level to understand their needs, and leveraging automation to enhance the overall customer experience. It underlines the importance of customer-centric Lean thinking. 


Day Two: reviewing Kaizen Activities and Key Goal Indicators 

The second and final day was dedicated to review Toyota Material Handling France’s practical application of TPS in their Fleet Management Centre and offices. 

Kaizen is a fundamental concept of TPS, emphasising continuous improvement. At the Fleet Management Centre, participants had the opportunity to actively experience Kaizen activities. This hands-on approach allowed attendees to witness how Lean principles are being applied in real-world situations to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness. 

Key Goal Indicators are methods and metrics that guide initiatives and help measure progress toward goals. The Customer Service Centre in France turned this methodology into results by reducing the lead time (-20%) and making their order process to supply units more efficient. 


The importance of TPS to employees and customers alike 

The key highlights and takeaways from the Toyota Lean Global meeting emphasise the significance of the Toyota Production System in Toyota's global operations. Michael Lambert, Toyota Lean Academy Director, describes the general feeling: “During this meeting, we genuinely sensed that all Toyota Material Handling Group regions are highly active in leveraging TPS for their market operations. The primary topics discussed in the meeting revolved around optimising customers' processes in their logistics, enhancing customer experience, and improving employees' TPS experience.”  

He further summarises what the meeting wants to achieve: “Toyota Material Handling Europe's activities are closely aligned with the group's directions, striking a harmonious balance between Lean activities directly involving our customers and internal TPS initiatives aimed at fortifying our processes. Our ultimate objective is to deliver an exceptional experience to our customers." 

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