Why Toyota still uses paper reports

Toyota still extensively uses paper reports, even if computers are now available. Here's why.

If you've ever had the fortune to visit a Toyota factory you'll notice that they still use a significant amount of paper in their operations. Their famous A3 reports for example, continue to remain rooted in the paper past.

It's not that Toyota refuses to adapt new technology. Although they are a conservative company, they have the ability to the latest and greatest when its required - for example, the development of the know-how to create the hybrid car. However, Toyota doesn't believe in using technology for the sake of being new and shiny. The solution needs to be justified and demonstrate that it adds value to the operation, without depreciating the benefits of past solutions.

While A3 reports can be replaced by a computer or a tablet, ultimately computers simply do not offer the same flexibility as a piece of paper. It is not as easy to mark up, pass around nor can you really stick it onto a wall.

Paper is not only more efficient, but cheaper as well. In addition to the cost of the computer and display devices, the additional cost of electricity, software and support services outweighs the cost of a printed page.

Toyota isn't anti-technology, but ultimately looks to see whether a solution makes real sense. Looking and editing a report on a tablet is cool, but cannot offer the same value as a piece of paper.

In other words, Toyota believes in the old adage: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Photo credit: Malik



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K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Why Toyota still uses paper reports
Why Toyota still uses paper reports
Toyota still extensively uses paper reports, even if computers are now available. Here's why.
K Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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