During the recent period of recalls relating to user safety and comfort, Toyota was not always able to fully live up to customer expectations, despite its strong "Customer First" tradition. In recognition of this fact, the company will thoroughly recommit itself to the "Customer First" ideal and the underlying Genchi Genbutsu philosophy for putting it into practice. Activities in every sector, from Development Design to Procurement, Production, and Servicing, will be reviewed for full compliance with our drive to orient our business to the customer's perspective.
No. of Calls at Toyota Customer Assistance Center
Content of Inquiries (FY2009)
The Customer Assistance Center was formed in 1982 to respond to customers' questions and complaints and to gather consumer opinions and requests that could be integrated into the company's product and service planning. With such services as toll-free dialing, a 24-hour catalog desk and 365-day operation, it has played key roles in establishing a framework for improving customer convenience. The Center has made continued efforts not only to provide swift, sure and friendly responses, but also to improve the way Toyota ascertain consumer needs as we address customer' questions and complaints. During the recent series of recalls, we listened closely to customers' concerns and, in cooperation with dealers, made a concerted effort to provide satisfactory responses. In accordance with the customer perspective initiative, a deliberate effort has been made to treat the received opinions as potentially useful input in the company's efforts to manufacture safe and reliable products. Toyota's products are the very foundation of its customer care. To the company, customers' selection of the product, their purchases and their satisfaction are vitally important. From this perspective as well, the company must continue to take a more customer-oriented approach to product creation, and conscientiously consider each of the 350,000-plus comments a year it receives from customers.
Since the recent recall issues occurred in sequence, calls with inquiries and complaints increased, resulting in a triple increase roughly in February 2010. The contact window, the Customer Assistance Center, was reinforced with additional manpower for phone consulting, which quickly relayed customer concerns to relevant departments along with the number of calls received each day. Specifically, typical comments were "I am worried as a brake problem directly relates to safety" and "Tell me about symptoms of the failure more specifically." Q&A lists for consumers and dealers, respectively, were immediately created and distributed as part of strengthened initiative based on the customer needs. Also, the center gleaned consumer opinions toward the company's apology message posted in media advertisement and on the corporate website at the time the recalls were carried out, generating suggestions in terms of how the company should provide information to customers. In May, internally defined as Customer Month, the importance of customer-oriented product safety and changes in customer perspectives were emphasized in daily work in order to ensure the "Customer First" policy.
In Japan, the Safety Guide Book was published based on the content of inquiries to the Customer Assistance Center. Distributed to new vehicle customers, the book offers a range of information to help ensure safe vehicle use. In Japan, the Safety Guide Book was published based on the content of inquiries to the Customer Assistance Center. Distributed to new vehicle customers, the book offers a range of information to help ensure safe vehicle use.
A scene of group discussion
In order to recover customers' trust after the recent series of recall issues, Toyota ASCA* Society carried out an internal discussion session in March 2010, where 32 members monitored actual "customers' voices" in response to relevant news reports, in sequence. The meeting provided sessions to verify the factual basis of developments, review the quality assurance systems in the United States as described by former residents of North America, brief attendees on the current status of Customer Assistance Center and so on after which a group discussion was held. Attendees suggested strategy resolutions including "Foster a corporate culture that reports the worst news first," "Re-examine the term ‘Customer Perspective' itself" and "Create opportunities for employees to listen to live customers' voices. "They resolved to further advance the initiatives addressed in the meeting in such a way as to make the strategies clear to consumers. Their participation in Meeting to Read the Sustainability Report was newly added to the FY2010 agenda.
*Toyota Advisory Specialist for Consumer's Affairs (ASCA) Society: is an organization consisting of Toyota employees who are certified as Advisory Specialist for Consumer's Affairs (government-certified qualification). The group was organized to help the company improve its customer-oriented practices.is an organization consisting of Toyota employees who are certified as Advisory Specialist for Consumer's Affairs (government-certified qualification). The group was organized to help the company improve its customer-oriented practices.
Quality is achieved through the integration of Development, Design, Procurement, Production and After-sales Service. Each is indispensable in the delivery of satisfactory quality to customers. In response to the recent series of recalls, it is essential that all sectors of the company refresh their awareness of quality issues, cooperate more closely with one another and commit themselves fully to making improvements.
Structure of Quality Improvement Activities in Customer First Program
Rewriting the ABS program on a customer's Prius
For the current new Prius recall, Tokyo Toyopet Sales Co., Ltd., immediately moved to contact new Prius owners the moment news of the recall hit the newspapers. Some 5,725 new Prius sedans were subject to the recall. After the recall was announced, the ABS system computer program on all new Priuses was rewritten and every car was road-tested. By moving quickly and rescheduling days off, the recall action was 99% finished by the end of March. Customers sincerely appreciate swift, courteous dealer responses like this. The current series of issues has resulted in a host of countermeasures taken at the dealer level. For example, salespeople used to spend a lot of time explaining the high-tech features of new car navigation systems when delivering the car, but in light of the current issues, explanations of the ABS system and other basic performance features related to the car's ability to "move, stop, and turn" take up much more time. Also, the salespeople realized anew the importance of carefully explaining every possible situation, saying, "If this kind of thing happens, here's how you should take care of it," or "Something like this could possibly happen. "Then President Akio Kamiya ordered the preparation of a Safety Book to provide information on our vehicles' basic performance characteristics, which the salespeople use in their explanations to help customers drive with a feeling of safety and peace of mind. Customers have told Toyota Toyopet that they "Appreciated the way their dealer handled the recall," while others have been more severe toward Toyota, saying, "I don't feel good about the way the dealer reacted when I said the brakes felt funny. I wish they'd put more thought into customers' confidence."
The HS250h interior design born from innovations in usability and visibility
It is important that the vehicles our diverse customers use are easy to use by men and women of all ages. Toyota works towards "building people-friendly automobiles," developing easy-to-use vehicles based on the characteristics and movement of each part of the human body, while giving consideration to such things as how customers in every region and country will use them. Universal design based on ergonomics is a part of that, and we have carried out product development while paying close attention to ease of use and visibility according to users and situations, utilizing a "user interactive development" method in which the developers themselves listen directly to the voice of the customer. In recent years, based on this interactive development, a Remote Touch system tested by an evaluation panel of 101 users recruited publicly has been featured in the RX, HS250h and SAI. The Remote Touch allows the display to be placed higher and further away, enabling remote fingertip control of the navigation system, etc. without having to look at one's hands, achieving outstanding comfort and safety by reducing visibility issues while driving (amount of line-of-sight movement and changes in focus). Customers have praised it, saying such things as, "The display is easy to see and controlling it is enjoyable," and "It's very handy when you get used to it."
Wheelchair accessible Hiace/Regius Ace
Sales of Welcab Vehicles and Market Share (Japan)
In recent years, the realization of a truly fulfilling society has been sought, where people with disabilities and the elderly can freely participate in society. With a philosophy of "providing comfortable freedom of movement to all people" as a response to that demand, Toyota has worked towards the development and popularization of the assisted-mobility vehicle, Welcab. In order to respond to the diversifying needs in assisted-mobility vehicles, we have filled out our lineup mainly through a development division dedicated to our Welcab assisted mobility vehicles, and in 2009, we expanded to a total of 30 models with 64 types, including a nursing care version used by caregivers to transport disabled persons, and a self-operated version that disabled persons themselves can drive. The nursing care version, which has sold the most, is a wheelchair accessible Hiace / Regius Ace with a remote controlled swing-arm lift that enables a person to board the vehicle while remaining in a wheelchair, and Toyota has received feedback from customers such as, "The time getting in and out is quick, and because there is little vibration, I feel confident." Also, the company is endorsing the establishment of "Welcab Stations" in Toyota dealerships nationwide, and set up in a total of 104 dealers with 181 outlets (as of the end of March 2010).
The basis for human resource development is putting the Toyota Way into practice. Toyota is working to develop human resources by seizing times of adversity as opportunities to learn, planning greater enhancement and reinforcement of educational programs based on the five Toyota Way keywords, and on-the-job training (OJT) essential to the progress and succession of building excellent products. Also, Toyota is placing greater importance on quality within each education program, with consideration for quality issues related to safety.
Systematization of Mid-Level Engineer Technical Training
Electronic technology field at the DR workshop
Improvements in engineers' inherent qualifications is always vital in sufficiently ensuring automobile quality and performance. The R&D Learning Center was established in 2006 with the objective of, (1) laying the groundwork for developing appealing products, and (2) maintaining and improving high Toyota quality (customer first). The training system for new engineers was reviewed, and training was carried out over about two months time, targeting development engineers from Toyota, TTDC* and overseas business units. In 2009, approximately 1,000 people received training in 42 courses. Also in FY2009, as new engineers training preparations were essentially complete, Toyota began systematizing engineer training targeting mid-level engineers (from their third year in the company to newly appointed assistant managers). Examining the efficiencies and deficiencies of current mid-level training, we have begun working on enhancing and strengthening training in FY2010 centered on quality related matters. In order to increase the quality of human resource development through OJT in the workplace, leveling up mid-level engineers is indispensable. To do that, Toyota will carry out training that goes back to the principles. As one example, it established a Design Review (DR) workshop that has the top engineers from each division as instructors. Targeting assistant managers with two or three years of experience, it is set up with eight fields, such as body, chassis, evaluation and electronic technologies. Our goal is to make it so the knowledge and skills the students learn enable them to tackle workplace problems on their own. Also, Toyota will be strengthening operation of performance indicators to measure the results of training.
*TTDC :Toyota Technical Development Corp. A partner company in Toyota's development and design fields
Workshop Structure - TQM Promotion Division
TQM Convention "Kaizen Case Study Presentation"
Total Quality Management (TQM) is an activity in which every employee participates in order to: (1) Ensure customer-first work practices, (2) Learn the principles of quality control and (3) Refine corporate strength through actions. TQM Promotion Division is currently engaged in promoting resolution, providing every employee working in Toyota's global organization with ideas for self-directed action to improve product and service quality, motivate people and revitalize the corporate structure and applying the philosophies of "Customer First," "Continuous Kaizen" and "Total Participation." Specific activities include a MAST*1 Training Course for newly promoted managers, a JKK*2 Training Course and an SQC Seminar that offers goal-setting and problem-solving techniques for both administrative and engineering staff. Particularly, QC circles are being proactively expanded in 44 overseas affiliates, and over 100,000 employees, or about 15,000 QC circles are engaged in improvement of immediate problems. At the same time, the TQM Promotion Division is engaging in communications initiatives and other activities designed to help raise the quality of products and services. During the Month of Quality, November 2009, the 44th TQM Convention was attended by some 4,600 people from group companies and dealers. At the convention, President Akio Toyoda spoke about his commitment to "Customer First," and attendees' comments were such as "I learned how to go back to basics." In May 2010, at a seminar for the Toyota Group's newly appointed board of directors, the themes were Quality and Human Resources and there was an active exchange of opinions. In July 2010, the 6th Ji Kotei-Kanketsu Exhibition and the 24th SQC Kaizen Presentations were held for the benefit of all employees, and both events reminded participants of the importance of TQM.
*1.MAST :Management-quality Advancement System by Toyota-group
*2.JKK :Ji Kotei-Kanketsu Built-in quality with ownership
For global companies engaged in business around the world, it is important to promote a diverse range of human resources activities while raising the skills of each individual employee. By fostering human resources that include a diverse range of individuals and making this a part of its strategy, Toyota is establishing a corporate culture with abundant vitality.
The focus of respect for diversity varies in different countries and regions; nevertheless, Toyota strives to be a company with a working environment that promotes self-realization while respecting diversity of values and ideas among its employees.
To create a more diverse and vibrant workplace by solving corporate issues faced by female employees, Toyota promotes measures applying to three pillars ? "Helping employees balance work with childcare," "supporting employees' career development" and "reforming workplace environments and attitudes." In FY2008, Toyota revised its system of flexible working hours for employees with children, and it held a Gender Diversity Management Forum for workplace supervisors. In FY2009, a women's technical career exchange forum that targeted about 1,000 women who work in manufacturing, was held at each Toyota plant. The forums introduced role models and helped establish networks among women that went beyond the workplace, thus fostered awareness of the ability to build satisfying careers. Toyota also established a new system of flexible working hours for nursing care and held lectures and experience-oriented nursing care seminars to help to understand the viewpoints of both the caregivers and those being cared for. In addition, it added more nursing care services and introduced a financing system to help employees balance work with caregiving. Toyota's newly established and revised systems help balance work with caregiving, as required by the revised Act on the Welfare of Workers Who Take Care of Children or Other Family Members Including Child Care and Family Care Leave that went into effect in June 2010.
A handcart modified for ease of use by wheelchair-utilizing employees
Established to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities — within Toyota and among society in general — Toyota Loops Corporation started operation in FY2009 and has applied for authorization as a special-purpose subsidiary. The company name "Loops" represents Toyota's desire to bring more people "inside the loop," linking disabled people more closely with society and with workplace communities. The corporate symbol includes the Japanese syllable "Wa", which can refer to three Japanese characters signifying "comfort," "the circle of joy" and "amusing talk." These three principles encapsulate the company's goal to create an organization that employees, family members and local communities can all be proud of. Toyota Loops responds to Toyota's internal printing and bookbinding needs and handles mail, including postal collection, delivery and sorting. The headquarters building was constructed after intensive research into exemplary existing facilities and thorough preparatory work to achieve a universal design that includes "All 5" barrier-free architecture with themes of "accessibility," "hospitality" and "information." Further, inheriting Toyota's DNA, Toyota Loops have worked on activities to make proposals of creative ingenuity for more human-friendly workplaces and a smoother workflow. The company began to host site tours and had approximately 400 visitors during the six-month period following the building's completion. To help support and encourage local initiatives, Toyota Loops formed the "Heartful Net Chubu" in January 2010, joining with businesses and institutions in the Chubu area to help promote the employment of disabled individuals. Some 20 organizations attended the first meeting in April. In FY2009, the company hired 28 severely disabled and mentally disabled people, and Toyota hired 18 people during the annual recruitment period, and 10 people for its year-round recruitment. As of the end of June 2010, the employment ratio was 2.07% when the special purpose subsidiary is included (1.98% for Toyota only) .
Following the 1991 introduction of the Internal Re-employment Program for Retired Professionals, an Optional Re-employment Application System was launched in 2001 that outplaces applicants to external affiliates and other sites, providing a framework for helping over-sixties to continue working, at either an external or internal workplace. Programs were modified to their present state according to the revised Law on Stabilization of Employment of Older Persons that came into effect in FY2006, to expand re-employment opportunities. A review was started at the same time to refine policies on shortening work hours, in response to growing diversity in job preferences and so on.
Toyota, where non-fulltime employees (including short-term employees, seconded employees of other companies, temporary employees and fixed-term contract employees) work, is doing all it can as a private business, particularly in the case of fixed-term contract, to ensure stable employment. Recruitment must be balanced with contract renewals and the fulfillment of other obligations. As part of a program Toyota has developed to revitalize and energize its workforce, a limited-contract employee who has worked for Toyota for at least six months and has a recommendation from the workplace will be eligible to take an examination for regular employment as a full-time employee. Examinations are offered during the second and third years of contract employment.
2008-2009: Employment Initiatives in the Wake of Global Economic and Production Changes
In 2008, the global financial crisis led to severe economic conditions in regions around the world. The financial crisis initiated by a surge in oil prices and exacerbated by the subsequent subprime loan crisis dealt a serious blow to the world economy and brought about a global recession. These economic conditions led to a rapid contraction of the automotive industry. As a result, Toyota was also forced to review its production plans in an effort to maintain stable operations while making every effort to protect the job security of its employees under these trying circumstances. Toyota addressed all possible adjustments to its operations, including adjusting tact times, limiting overtime work and reviewing shift schedules and workplace conditions. All of the measures taken were in line with Toyota's employment philosophy as set forth in the Basic Toyota Principles. Future actions will continue to reflect these principles.
Positioning of CSR Policy
These principles offer an ideal for what Toyota must become. To ensure that we are abiding by these principles across our operations, and contributing to the sustainable development of society and the planet, they should be shared with and understood by all of our consolidated subsidiaries.
An interpretation of the Guiding Principles at Toyota that takes into consideration of Toyota's relations with stakeholders, subsequent environmental changes and heightened societal interest in CSR. TMC has shared the statement with its consolidated subsidiaries and is taking other relevant.
A comprehensive overview of the values and business methods that all employees should embrace in order to carry out the Guiding Principles at Toyota throughout the company's global activities.
A summary of the basic guidelines that each of us must keep in mind as a discipline. It provides detailed explanations and examples of the actions and issues that we must be aware of when carrying out actual business activities (including in our jobs and daily business operations) and living in our global society.
Chapter I. Through our communication and dialogue with the company, we (people working for Toyota) strive to build and share fundamental value of "Mutual Trust and Mutual Responsibility." Toyota (Toyota Motor Corporation and its subsidiaries) endeavors to improve its business achievements so that Toyota can continue to provide employment and fair and stable working conditions for each of us. Simultaneously, Toyota promotes a work environment in which each of us can work in a harmonious and dynamic manner.
We support equal employment opportunities, diversity and inclusion for our employees and do not discriminate against them. (Guiding Principles 5)
We strive to provide fair working conditions and to maintain a safe and healthy working environment for all our employees. (Guiding Principles 5）
The automotive industry is particularly affected by seasonal demand fluctuations and economic trends. That is why the hiring of a certain number of temporary employees has been a common practice across the industry for many years. While it is essential to handle personnel placement and contract renewals appropriately for contract employees, Toyota has gone to the greatest lengths possible to ensure stable employment and improve the employability of these workers. At the completion of a contract, workers receive considerate treatment, including grants for return travel expenses, bonuses and rewards for fulfillment of services. As workers prepare to leave the company dormitory, their personal circumstances are taken into account. If the company recognizes a compelling reason, such as a waiting period for certification to receive unemployment benefits, workers may be allowed to postpone departure by a month, pursuant to a rule that went into effect December 2008. (No rent is charged for the extension period.) In an effort to improve workers' motivation and vitality, temporary employees who have worked more than six consecutive months have opportunities to become permanent employees. Since the end of March 2009, temporary employees have been offered skill-building courses in which they can earn national vocational qualifications.
Toyota has made necessary production adjustments overseas, placing a priority on protecting job security. Initiatives included extended plant shutdowns, transferring personnel between plants, freezing new hires and limiting overtime work. The company has made continued efforts to save jobs during the slowdown, using the downtime to focus on kaizen activities and human resource development, transferring personnel between plants, freezing new hires and limiting overtime work. At the same time, some manufacturing plants in North America, Europe, South Africa and other parts of the world introduced work sharing programs, compressing each individual's working hours and sharing the "saved" hours among multiple workers. In addition, voluntary retirement programs were introduced to offer employees a more diverse range of options. These actions were taken in accordance with Toyota's pledge to make every effort to protect job security, while reflecting the mutual trust between workers and the employer and our commitment to abide by the labor laws and practices of each country, and our respect for the common labor practices and labor agreements of each country and each individual affiliate.
In February 2009, work-sharing programs were initiated for approximately 12,000 workers at 6 plants including Kentucky, Indiana, Texas and elsewhere in the United States.
Then Vice President Jim Wiseman said, "Our team members are our most valued resource. We made every effort to protect employment security through a philosophy of shared sacrifice. By retaining our team members' expertise and building their skills during that time, we not only improved plant operations, but helped position the company to come back stronger."
In the U.S., non-production days were used for team member training, including skills development and process improvements. As a result, hundreds of improvements were made in the areas of safety, efficiency and quality.
The kaizen measures were designed to further improve the internal processes of each plant and refine product quality and safety to ensure smooth start-ups on new production lines. To improve quality of life in local communities, employees also took part in social contribution activities including beautification and tree planting.
Classroom lecture on internal plant process improvement
Human resource development training
Along with our "Customer First" principle, contributing to society through automobile manufacturing and monozukuri is a basic philosophy at Toyota. To address various issues that come up in the course of business in a spirit of cooperation, it is necessary to share these principles with our suppliers, overseas distributors, domestic dealers and other business partners. In addition to pursuing our normal CSR activities, Toyota is committed to securing higher customer satisfaction in all areas, in unified cooperation with its business partners in light of recent quality issues related to safety and confidence.
Since its establishment, Toyota has sought to work closely with its suppliers in its manufacturing activities. In good times and bad, Toyota and its suppliers face the same issues together and Toyota has built strong and close relationships with them based on the need for mutual support and a harmonious society. As its business has expanded on a global scale, Toyota places even greater value on these close relationships, including relationships with new partners, as essential to its efforts to achieve higher customer satisfaction on every level.
Collaboration with Jtekt
Since 2006, Toyota has cooperated with suppliers in "Joint Manufacturing Activity with Suppliers" activities to improve working practices. After analyses to streamline operations by examining past quality improvement efforts, we established two objectives, namely, solving suppliers' problems and reducing in-process defects. As of May 2010, 27 suppliers have joined the activities. As an example, we collaborated with the Jtekt Corporation to make the built-in quality at the manufacturing process for an automatic transmission oil pump, optimizing the inspection criterion and methods. A year later, the defect rate was reduced to one-tenth of the previous level and the initiative is now being extended to other components.
A presentation scene from the seminar
Toyota's quality and recall issues, which started in the U.S., also affected dealers in China. For safety and confidence at the local level, Toyota sent engineers to China in April 2010 to present briefing sessions entitled "Toyota's Thinking on the Quality." The briefings were held at four venues and attended by about 360 companies. Relying on simple language and methodology that made the message clear to non-technical, the explanations included "Toyota's Basic Thinking on Quality Standards," "The Quality Issue in the United States," "Toyota's Thinking on Engineering" and "Safety Performance of Toyota Vehicles," and ended with "Moving Onward and Upward in the Quest for Even Better Quality and Safety. "Toyota expressed its commitment to learn from the current quality issues, to reflect customers' voices even more quickly and to conduct even more intensive market research. Toyota promised to provide products that are designed and produced with "safety and quality" first. Finally, Toyota asked its dealers in China for even stronger two-way communications with its dealers.