Kaizen in constant motion here | Inquirer Business

Kaizen in constant motion here

/ 05:33 AM December 26, 2012

Search for the term “kaizen” online and the Japanese definition would invariably be “improvement” or “change for the better,” and it would refer to philosophies or practices that focus on continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering and business management.

Toyota’s strengths, and its efficiencies, cannot be understood or emulated outside the context of tradition—not Japan’s, but Toyota’s own. Inventor and Toyota Group founder Sakichi Toyoda’s “Precepts” have served as the backbone of the carmaker’s executive culture since its inception and, even today, guide decision-making at the top echelons.


Japanese auto industry expert Masaaki Sato described this global automobile powerhouse’s culture. Toyota, as experts would note, is arguably the most successful car brand of all time, and auto historian Giles Chapman quipped it as “having propelled from nowhere to, at one time, the position of world number two car manufacturer.”

He added, “Yet its beginning (was) hardly promising.”


Auto expert Tony Lewin wrote that in 1929, Kiichiro Toyoda travelled to Europe and the United States on a research mission: he was considering expanding his family’s loom-making business and going into the automotive industry. A year later, the firm began developing gasoline engines, and it produced its first vehicle prototypes in 1935. Lewin determined Toyota’s founding as 1937.
In the Philippines, Toyota had made waves of its own. Since the brand has been expected to outperform the competition in any country it sets foot on, the people at Toyota Motor Philippines, understandably, have had to excel in all aspects of the automobile business.

As of November’s year-to-date sales, the auto industry market grew by 8.1 percent due to the good supply condition and the introduction of new models from different car companies. The industry sales figure of 165,486 units had already exceeded last year’s full-year market sales by 292 units.

On a year-to-date basis as of November, Toyota had registered a total of 58,590 units and 41.7-percent market share.

“With this sales level, we had already surpassed our registered sales last year and moreover, our sales record last 2010 in just the 1st 11 months. In the process, TMP has already garnered a 44.2-percent market share in the passenger car (PC) segment and a 40.6-percent share in the commercial vehicle (CV) segment,” TMP president Michinobu Sugata told Inquirer Motoring.

No. 1 models in respective segments:

1) Vios–Subcompact

2) Corolla Altis-Compact


3) Innova–MPV

4) Camry – Mid-size sedan

5) Hiace – Utility Vehicle

6) Land Cruiser series (LC 200 & Prado combined)–SUV High

7) Hilux–Pickup

Most model launches

For 2012, TMP launched a total of 10 models, the highest number of model launches since the company’s start of operations in 1988.

In January, the highlight was on the all-new Avanza and the hybrid Prius C.

For February, the best-selling Innova was at centerstage as the newest iteration offered more enhancements to cater to the needs and wants of its core market. Two models were also relaunched last March, the Yaris and the LC200.

A month later, TMP introduced the all-new Camry with the newly developed Nano-E Technology that caters to a more sophisticated audience.

In June, the industry watched in awe as the much-awaited 86 was brought in and unveiled in the Philippines.

August saw the Fortuner and Hilux being given engine upgrades with the Variable Nozzle Turbo (VNT).

Finally, the best-selling car in the Philippines, the well-loved Vios, was also given additional variants for its wide market.

“2013 will even be more exciting as we will kickstart the year with the all-new RAV4,” said Sugata.

Earthquake, floods

2012 was also a year of adversity for TMP, testing its resiliency and focus. During the first semester, local operations were impaired due to the lack of supply brought about by a massive Eastern Earthquake in Japan and extensive flooding in Thailand.

“However, after these unfortunate events, TMP got back on track because of the efforts exerted by the mother company Toyota Motor Corp., subsidiaries and dedicated Toyota team members. This move boosted TMP’s overall sales, which led to numerous record-breaking milestones in July and October. It is expected that TMP will be introducing more products in the succeeding years to add to its strong vehicle roster,” said Sugata.

Toyota also promises to offer more affordable vehicles in the market to cater to a wider range of customers.
Constant improvement in the spirit of kaizen, TMP said it would continuously seek improvements in its operations and sales programs.

“Toyota always aims to serve its customers better through quality products and services. There has always been a drive to outdo what we have previously achieved,” said Sugata.

The Philippine economy is now one the fastest-growing in the world. In the latest forecast for 2013, TMP noted that consumer spending is expected to be greater than last year based on the country’s improving gross domestic product.

“The motoring industry as a whole is set to have a great opportunity for growth due to the increased spending of the Philippine market. With consumers paying close attention to the fluctuating oil prices, demand for fuel-efficient vehicles will likewise increase. For Toyota, the SUV and the subcompact are expected to grow next year,” said Sugata.

2012 Sales Reference Chart

Model             YTD                            Total                                        58,590

Total PC                                                         18,771

Yaris                     208

Vios                14,757

Prius                        0

Prius C                 15

Corolla Altis    2,739

86       83

Camry                 969

Lexus PC           193

Total CV                                39,781

Avanza                          6,099

Innova                        12,005

RAV4                                         108

Fortuner                    10,593

LC200/Prado                  806

Hilux                            5,402

IMV1                              326

Hiace                            4,583

Alphard                           155

Previa                                28

Coaster                                 2

Lexus CV                          120

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TAGS: Business, Improvement, Japan, Kaizen, Motoring
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