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Pascal Dennis

Pascal Dennis: Safety was always first at Toyota

By Pascal Dennis, - Last updated: Saturday, April 3, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Dear Dr. Shein, It’s a pleasure indeed to get a question from you. In my personal experience at Toyota, I found that Safety, pardon the cliche, was always first.

First thing discussed at morning production meetings, weekly status reviews, mid-year and year-end reviews.

Significant safety incidents including near misses were investigated within 48 hours. Report outs, or “Safety Auctions”, were lead lineside, usually by the group leader and responsible manager. These investigations went far deeper than in any other company I know, with the possible exception of Dupont.

In new model launches, safety and ergonomics, were, again, the first order of business. Once I asked a senior Toyota executive why safety was so important.

He responded, “To buid a good car, the Four M’s [manpower, machines, methods, materials] must be good. Most important is the team member. If you don’t take care of them, you cannot build a good car.”

Simple, I know, but a simplicity born of years of experience.

Has Toyota’s culture shifted so dramatically in the past decade, as to lose sight of safety? I doubt it, and for what it’s worth, expect Toyota to regain its footing not just in safety, but across the board.

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