There are many Toyota quotes attributed to its early founders or to its leadership.
Can one even squeeze water from a dry towel? Eiji Toyoda believes so. Eiji Toyoda is attributed to having said:
If you put your mind to it, water can be wrung even from a dry towel.
Eiji Toyoda, Toyota Motor Corporation President 1967-1982
Mistakenly, people understand this phrase as one that focuses on cost cutting. This is wrong. Eiji Toyoda is talking about Waste, as it is defined and understood in Lean Manufacturing. In other words, no matter how perfect the process is, it can still get better. It can still improve.
In one sense, this quotable from Eiji Toyoda is a commentary on those that believe there’s nothing to be improved in their department, process, or company.
Indeed, the spirit of continuous improvement is exactly that: continuous; peeling back the layers of wastes a little at a time. The pursuit of which creates a company culture where we are always seeking to improve.
What’s your experience? Have you experienced something similar?