This year we have seen one Presidential nominee, Bernie Sanders, suggest free college education while another, Donald Trump, denigrated a Prisoner-of-War saying he was not a war hero. Toyota is taking a different stance; they are hiring all the retired military they can and helping defray the cost of college to students that want to intern at their San Antonio, Texas manufacturing plant.
Dave Crouch, Vice President, Administration Production Control Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX), laments that finding multi-skilled electricians has been difficult, “We used to hire from all over the country. What we found is that, after a couple of years, the workers would go back to the State they were from instead of settling down in Texas. We decided to take an interest in our citizens.”
Part of the Toyota Global Vision is to create families of workers; from August to November 2008 during the economic freefall in the United States Toyota shut down production in their San Antonio manufacturing plant, but they didn’t fire a single person. Instead, they ran training classes and on Fridays each employee went into the city and worked on a civic community project.
The same thing happened in 2011 when Japan experienced the great earthquake. The San Antonio plant dropped to three days of manufacturing with employees using the extra two days of non-work to do civic community work.
Toyota is bringing their Kaizen philosophy to San Antonio; the philosophy of continuous improvement in business and personal efficiency. The San Antonio, TX manufacturing plant has about the same make-up of cultures as the city does. Toyota is working on getting more women in the facility.
Toyota is thriving, as are truck sales. The Tundra and Tacoma are built and assembled at the San Antonio plant. Toyota can’t make enough trucks; the Tundra is 13.6 days on a dealer’s lot, the Tacoma is 9.7 days on a dealer’s lot. Toyota is looking for a few good men and women.