In the 80’s Toyota gained massive market share in the American car market…

GM were the major player, but the cars they produced were prone to mechanical failures. The cars Toyota produced were of dramatically higher quality than those that left a GM factory.

GM hadn’t changed their manufacturing processes in years & it was very rigid in a traditional command & control model. If a worker encountered a problem, the worker would stop the line, everyone would get involved to solve that specific problem & the production would be started again.

Toyota though adopted a de-centralised model. Each employee was regarded as team members & given a high level of autonomy.

If a team member had to stop the line. All teams would carefully study why & agree a change in the entire process to make sure the stoppage didn’t happen again, seeking continual improvement.

Each Toyota team were encouraged to suggest ongoing improvements & whatever ideas they had for innovation were immediately put into practice.

Toyota insisted their quality was nothing to do with unions, cultures or Zen philosophy. And said, with their help. GM could achieve this quality too.

GM gave Toyota control of their Fremont factory, where absenteeism was at 20%, the union & management were at loggerheads and the quality of the vehicles was terrible.

Once Toyota had moved the workers to a de-centralised model, the results was amazing. Within 3 years productivity was 60% higher than other GM plants & quality had dramatically improved.

There’s lots of reasons why you should move your operation to a de-centralised model & put your trust in your team, to continually improve processes & help the company grow.

We did it some years ago in our printer & photocopier technology business. My team have total autonomy to make critical business decisions, in our own quest to seek continual improvement.

Have you ever thought about de-centralising your business model & trusting your team with more autonomy to make critical business decisions, to improve processes & fuel growth?