Toyota is the worlds leading automobile manufacturing company and they have recently adopted a strategy of having humans replacing robots to do certain tasks at their Japanese production plants.
It is reckoned that in doing this, it will improve the overall efficiency and will reduce waste materials as the human workers get the experience of making different parts and will be able to manage the production lines better in future.
Mitsuru Kawai is the senior technical executive of Toyota Motor Corp and this is what he had to say: “We cannot simply depend on the machines that only repeat the same task over and over again. To be the master of the machine, you have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine.”
This will enable the workers to develop their skills and then reprogram the machines to produce less waste materials. Toyota have made over 100 of these manual workspaces across their Japanese factories. Already, they have managed to cut waste down by 10% on the production of crankshafts as they taught some workers how to do produce these parts manually. They are also working on producing axle beams and chassis parts manually.
This Toyota strategy comes at a time when General Motors have had to recall millions of vehicles for a faulty ignition switch which has been linked to 13 deaths.
Toyota have also decided to put a 3 year freeze on any new car plants and are focusing more on vehicle development where they are looking to manufacture platforms which are expected to cut costs by around 30%.
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