Gipsie Ranney recently sent me an article on her thoughts on NUMMI and the current problems with the Big Three car makers to post to the Curious Cat Management Improvement Library. NUMMI is the plant that Toyota and General Motors run together as a joint venture. The article is excellent.
The most remarkable insight I gained at NUMMI came as an answer to a question from a member of the touring group. The person asked what had been learned about the reasons that management/labor conflict had been reduced so much. The tour guide answered, “The answer we get from members of the labor force is that the Japanese do what they say they will do.” This was the same labor force that had held the record for most grievances filed per year in an assembly plant in the U.S.
The Big Three are responsible for managing their organizations wisely. I think that will take more than money. It will take a different culture and a different mind.
I agree. The problem is that management fails to manage well and has been failing to do so for decades. They have improved over the last few decades but not nearly fast or consistently enough. Gipsie worked closely with Dr. Deming and serves on the W. Edwards Deming Institute Board of Trustees.
Related: Could Toyota Fix GM (2005) – At Ford, Quality Was Our Motto in the 1980s – Big Failed Three, Meet the Successful Eight – Why Fix the Escalator? – Invest in New Management Methods Not a Failing Company (AMC) by William Hunter, 1986 – Ford and Managing the Supplier Relationship – No Excessive Senior Executive Pay at Toyota
It's always baffled me that GM hasn't learned more from NUMMI after decades of experience. I've met guys who worked at NUMMI over the years and they were so frustrated about being ignored when they returned from their stints there.
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