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BWA Toyota Plant Tours Recap – Toyota Manufacturing: Success as a process in action.

Take a 3 million square ft. facility, fill it with a constantly moving stream of parts, robots, machines; factor in leadership dedicated to continuous improvement; a workforce dedicated to producing a product of first-rate quality utilizing Lean Manufacturing and what you have is a tour nothing short of memorable and inspiring to witness.

BWA members wander through Toyota Motor Manufacturing Showroom ahead of the motorized tram tour through South Weld and North Assembly two of the most visually impressive shops in Cambridge.

Following up from the BWA Lean Road Map Training Event held back on May 16th in Kitchener, the BWA hosted not one but two Plant Tour Events at the world-class manufacturing facility of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, on May 30th and June 6th.

The plant tour began with a brief seminar of Toyota’s process and system followed up with a tram tour through the entire facility. The guided tour was filled with many details and facts about Toyota’s production including automatic guided robotic vehicles delivering parts to staff; lead times for parts to assemble their cars as low as several hours; a robot 21ft tall they call ‘Godzilla’; a view of one of the largest hydraulic presses in the word. All of this in an immersive 3D work environment.

“It was definitely inspiring to see a place operate with such efficiency and control. Although we were looking from the outside in, we definitely got enough to inspire us to improve our process and plant. The timing of this was perfect because I had attended the lean manufacturing presentation a couple of weeks ago, and then I was able to actually see some of those principals in action. Very valuable time spent today.” – BWA member

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada. (TMMC for short), is located in Cambridge Ontario with its sister plant in Woodstock Ontario. Toyota proudly opens its doors to showcase how it produces the well-known Toyota Rav4 and Lexus RX350.

When asked how they are able to achieve a such a high retention rate of team members, a staff member highlighted the company’s inclusive environment where team members are encouraged to contribute to the continuing success of the company by including them in the continuous improvement process. Team members feel valued that their contributions matter.

The tour provided a unique insight into how the company utilizes Lean Manufacturing and just in time (JIT) principles. It was clearly seen that the company cares and focuses on the 5S principles, 8 deadly wastes and all the fundamentals of lean manufacturing during the tour.

Clear visual cues, cleanliness, efficiency and an effort to always improve were just some of the examples of how Toyota strives to produce the best product they can. With all of its complexity as a large manufacturer, it is fundamentally based ironically on simplicity – always in search for ways to do things better and make production easier for its team members and its systems.

BWA members standing in front of the first ever produced Toyota Corolla in Cambridge. Due to photo restrictions, photography of the tour is restricted to outside sensitive areas.

The BWA hosts plant tours throughout the year with an emphasis on Kaizen (Continuous Improvements). Tour hosts have the benefit of presenting a challenge to the tour attendees and receiving solution-oriented feedback on how to improve processes, systems and address ongoing challenges in a truly collaborative environment.

If you are a wood manufacturer and would like to host a plant tour with the BWA, or if you would like to attend a plant tour and are not a member of the BWA, please contact:

Mike Baker, BWA Executive Director
p: 226-668-5455
e: [email protected] for more information.

Check out the BWA’s events page for ongoing programs and initiatives designed for the wood manufacturing sector of Southwestern Ontario.

The BWA is Southwestern Ontario’s only industry led managed cluster of wood manufacturer facilitating the needs and challenges of wood companies. Want to be connected in the discussion and collaborations? Interested in training and skills development of your workforce? Navigate to our membership registration page here and find out how to get involved: www.bluewaterwoodalliance.com/joinnow