In order to become a global giant from the usual dip of the post-war era, Toyota focused on consistent improvement and tightening its costs
Toyota is trying to regain its lost ground in the electric vehicle market by making significant changes head to toe. The motor manufacturing company is now turning to self-propelled assembly lines, age-old hand polishing, and even massive die casting. Toyota believes that it can compete with Tesla and other prominent players in the market by incorporating the new technology with the popular lean production methods that the company has used for decades to deal with incapability or wastefulness including out-of-manufacturing and extravagant costs.
On a factory tour in central Japan, the company showed its latest advancements for the first time. Toyota showed its latest changes that were included in the production such as thrifty ingenuity, which is a technique to high-gloss bumpers without any paint. The mold is basically hand-polished to get a mirror finish. This gives the bumpers their shine.
Chief Product Officer Kazuaki Shingo stated that the robustness of Toyota’s manufacturing lies in the ability to adapt to changing times. He pointed out the technological and engineering expertise steering in Toyota Production System (TPS). With its system of lean production, just-in-time delivery, and ‘kanban’ workflow organisation, Toyota transformed modern manufacturing. These methods have since been accepted by many organisations, from software firms to the healthcare industry. They have also been studied widely by business schools and boardrooms across the globe.
In order to become a global giant from the usual dip of the post-war era, Toyota focused on consistent improvement and tightening its costs. But when it comes to EVs, the company has been overshadowed by another fierce competitor, Tesla. Tesla used the expertise of its own to become an industry leader.
Toyota in June announced an aspiring plan to build up battery EVs under the new CEO Koji Sato. This is a big shift after it faced years of criticism that the company was slow to embrace fully electric technology. According to reports, Toyota accounted for only 0.3% of the global EV market in 2022. Goldman Sachs called for a stronger offering the missing piece in its lineup.
Well, Toyota is not the only company struggling with the shift to electronic vehicles. Pressures from Tesla have mounted on Detroit’s big three automakers as they work on pushing back the wage demands from the United Auto Workers union.
Self-propelled production lines are the highlight of new changes incorporated by the company, where the electronic vehicles are guided by the sensors through the assembly line. The latest technology removes the requirement for conveyor equipment. This is a big expense in the car assembly process. Toyota also showcased a prototype of the die-casting technology known as ‘gigacasting’ which was made popular by Tesla that produces aluminium parts bigger than anything that was used before in the industry.
Japan automaker also mentions that it will produce electronic vehicles in modular sections. They have brought in innovations of their own. They have been working on die-casting for years and have developed ways that could be replaced quickly. The company says that it reduces the time to change the mold to 20 minutes, which usually takes 24 hours.
A self-driving transport robot has also been introduced by the automaker that will carry the new vehicles across a 10-acre parking space. This was a job typically done by drivers before the cars were loaded onto the trucks. Truck drivers must walk an average of 5 miles a day to get automobiles, which cuts into their driving time and increases their physical workload in a position with a high turnover rate. The automaker also stated that after ten of the robots are operational in Motomachi, other plants would be taken into consideration. These robots might also be sold to other businesses.