Instead of giving out money, Toyota is giving out Kaizen, providing not only a new model of philantrophy, but also proving that kaizen appl...
Instead of giving out money, Toyota is giving out Kaizen, providing not only a new model of philantrophy, but also proving that kaizen applies to everything.
By Karn G. Bulsuk
There are many ways companies demonstrate social responsibility. Some choose to give volunteer time to employees, while others simply hand over a cheque to a charity of choice.
According to the New York Times, Toyota went one step further at New York charity The Food Bank, offering them kaizen to improve their efficiency and productivity. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy for example, Toyota helped to streamline the process of packing relief supplies into a box, running down the time it took from 3 minutes to 11 seconds. Instead of having people scramble across the warehouse for goods, Toyota implemented a conveyer belt system to allow volunteers to drop their assigned food items into the box.
Toyota was also asked to help to make the queues into The Food Bank’s soup kitchens shorter. They managed to do so, cutting average wait times from an hour and a half to only 18 minutes. With 50 seats in the soup kitchen, in the past 10 people would be allowed in at a time, creating a bottle neck.
Toyota eliminated the 10 people at a time system, and allowed diners to come in as seats were made available. A waiting area was also set up to allow people line up closer to where they would pick up their food trays, and an employee was assigned to spot empty seats and to fill them quickly.
Regardless of whether you’re manufacturing cars or trying to feed hungry people, kaizen is a universal principle and readily applicable.