Following on from my previous stories from my visit to the Toyota plant, lets pick up the tale as we head towards the Gemba.
our group was shepherded into the main assembly hall, and taken to an upper level gantry with a series of viewing platforms where we could see the Lexus assembly line beneath us.
We were informed that the current Takt Time was 107 sec, so just like a metronome ticking, every 107 seconds a completed vehicle rolled off the line.
We then moved across the viewing platform to observe a section where the wheels and tyres were being fitted. It was interesting to see how automation was deployed, with the heavy lifting was completed by the machine, moving the units into place, and then the operator made final adjustments and then the wheels were affixed automatically. This I thought was a typical example of Jidoka, “automation with a human touch”.
I also noticed that the operator wasn’t standing up, rather he was sat on a stool with roller skate type wheels, and was using he legs as propulsion. he had a set sequence of tasks Standard Work that was grouped at the bottom of the car, meaning he could just get his work done effortlessly and was in a comfortable ergonomic position at all times. This actually looked like a lot of fun and the way he used his legs to power the stool, he probably got a great work out too!
More later on the Gemba tour of Lexus.