Everybody Wants It, Toyota’s Got It [oops, pointy haired boss broke link, so I removed it] by Grant Robertson, Globe and Mail (Canada):
Despite riding atop the North American auto sector for the past decade, the company’s manufacturing methods are an open book.
People often look for the secret new idea instead of just executing well. So much improvement is available just using ideas that have been known for decades. But instead of doing that people keep searching for new magic bullets.
Line workers spend two hours at one job, then transfer to another within their group of half a dozen people, a strategy Toyota believes helps break monotony, foster teamwork and keep the plant flexible when employees are away.
“Toyota has probably laughed behind everybody’s backs for years,” he says. “Everybody goes in there and looks at [the Cambridge plant] and walks out, but doesn’t really understand how to do it. So because of that, I guess they still continue to let them look at it.”