The Story of Sakichi Toyoda
Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries Corporation, possessed a strong ambition to contribute to society from his days as a youth. He had devoted his 63-year-long life to invention.
Production Engineering Department, Engine Division
He joined the company in 1981. He was assigned to the Power Section of the Kyowa Plant, and was engaged in various maintenance activities in divisions throughout the plant. At the same time as the start of operations at the Hekinan Plant, he was transferred to the Engine Division, and was responsible for maintenance of the machining line. He used his rich maintenance experience from starting maintenance work at Ibiden Co., Ltd. as well as maintenance of facilities at Kirloskar Toyota Textile Machinery Pvt. Ltd. (KTTM), and was active in various areas. In 2009 he was transferred to the Die Maintenance Section, and served as Supervisor. Now, he has left this post, and is responsible for training of human resources within the section as well as promotion of support for die maintenance at KTTM.
When I joined the company, I was assigned to the Power Section of the Kyowa Plant. At that time, the factory did not have a maintenance section, and the Power Section was also responsible for management of issues such as electricity supply throughout the factory. However, at that time maintenance really only consisted of being called when equipment broke down, and carrying out repairs or replacement of parts, with the focus on restoring service. As times have changed, maintenance has improved dramatically. By standardizing as much as possible what we've learned through our long experience, and carrying out periodic inspections, our focus is now upon preventative maintenance, stopping breakdowns before they occur. Recently, we have gained the cooperation of processes in equipment maintenance and management.
In the first place, facilities are rapidly evolving, and being able to maintain these requires that we study to keep up, and this is where human resources are key. For this, we have set up the Technical Learning Center and training dojos at each plant, at which we are now able to better teach the basics. The caliber of new employees is ever-improving, and I think that these employees are able to absorb information at a much faster rate than in my day. One point of note, however, is that these new employees may be a little too docile. They have a tendency to accept whatever they have been told by their superiors as gospel. While this may not be wrong per se, asking questions spurs growth, and for teachers as well, being asked questions can be a powerful impetus in their own learning.
I am the Chairman of the Company-Wide Assistant Manager's Association, and this year's activities slogan is "Transform yourselves, train staff with a smile." In this, I hope that superiors actively offer guidance to their subordinates, as they would family members. And through this guidance, the subordinates will grow, and also contribute to the growth of their superiors. Developing human resources means improving both the teacher and the student, a form of synergy. I hope both can cooperate to create a better workplace.