NUMMI (again)

Toyota to end Calif. joint venture with GM – Yahoo! News. The joint venture was developed to have American workers learn Toyota’s production methods, which were much leaner and more efficient. [emphasis added] Maybe that was GM’s intention – to “fix” the workforce. This fits in with the judgment I developed about GM’s leadership over … Continue reading “NUMMI (again)”

Toyota’s Dilemma over NUMMI

Toyota says it may shut Fremont’s NUMMI auto plant – San Jose Mercury News Part of the aftermath of GM’s implosion is that Toyota is left holding the bag on the NUMMI joint venture. The plant primarily built vehicles for GM (the Pontiac Vibe), but was essentially managed by Toyota as a Toyota operation. A … Continue reading “Toyota’s Dilemma over NUMMI”

Remembering NUMMI: Gipsie Ranney

Gipsie Ranney is a consultant with The Deming Cooperative. A white paper she recently wrote, contrasting NUMMI with The Big Three, has been circulating by email. I requested, and received, her permission to publish it here. Remembering NUMMI Gipsie B. Ranney January, 2009 The discussions of a bailout for the U.S. owned auto industry – … Continue reading “Remembering NUMMI: Gipsie Ranney”

The Structure Behind Leader Development

Chapter 3 of The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership is titled “Coach and Develop Others.” Where in Chapter 2 the authors were outlining the individual leader’s responsibility for self-development, now they are describing the environment and the process of supporting and focusing that drive. Rather than just outline the chapter, I want to dig into some … Continue reading “The Structure Behind Leader Development”

Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard

I have been touting Chip and Dan Heath’s book Switch for some time now, so it I thought I ought to actually write about why. If you are in the role of a “change agent” this book is your manual. Up to this point, the bible for “organizational change” has been John P. Kotter’s book … Continue reading “Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard”

Toyota Under Fire

So many of us were wringing our hands a year ago. Our idealized vision of Toyota as the source of all perfection and example was tarnished and crumbling before our eyes. Prominent “names” in our field were talking about the need to go beyond Toyota. The vaunted TPS was clearly failing. Or was it? Like … Continue reading “Toyota Under Fire”

Problems Hidden In The Open

We were down on the shop floor watching an assembly operation. The takt time was on the order of three hours. The assembler was new to the task, and the team leader periodically came by and asked if he was “doing OK.” The reply was always in the affirmative. As the takt time wound down … Continue reading “Problems Hidden In The Open”

Learn how to Learn

John Shook’s latest column on is titled “Was NUMMI a Success?” He adds some interesting thought to the mix of the ongoing post-mortem on GM and NUMMI. John argues (successfully, I think) that Toyota’s objectives for NUMMI were to learn how to take their system outside of the safe cocoon of Toyota City in … Continue reading “Learn how to Learn”

John Shook: Purpose, Process, People

Like many of us, John Shook has been commenting in his column about GM at a precipice seemingly of its own making. One of the questions he has addressed in a couple of columns is “What did GM learn from NUMMI?” or perhaps more precisely, “Why didn’t GM learn from NUMMI?” John’s latest column, titled … Continue reading “John Shook: Purpose, Process, People”

Behind The Scenes Of An Outlier

Yesterday when I published Gipsie Ranney’s white paper “Remembering Nummi” I did so because I thought she made some points that others would be interested in. Let me take you behind the scenes of WordPress. One of the things this little program makes available is a stats tracker. This is the graph of daily “Site … Continue reading “Behind The Scenes Of An Outlier”