After the devastation of natural disasters in Japan earlier this year, Toyota has announced plans to create new production operations that would be capable of recovering from an earthquake within two weeks.
The massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan in March pushed back Toyota’s production, and thus impacted on Toyota sales and deliveries hugely. Toyota is still said to be recovering from the devastation that inundated some of the east coast of Japan.
Executive Vice President of Toyota, Shinichi Sasaki, said earlier this week that plans to create a more robust production method were underway. He said the aim was to develop an infrastructure that could be capable of recovering in the event of another earthquake in less than 14 days.
“We’re making checks now to see what needs to be done to enable a recovery within two weeks when the next one – expected in the (central) Tokai region – hits. We’re about 80 per cent done with those checks.”
Shinichi Sasaki said Toyota is planning to implement three steps that would help recovery in the event of a future mass disaster.
He says the first of which is to increase the amount of standardised parts. This would spread the manufacturing of components out into different locations, which will then be used by various Japanese car makers.
The second step will be to ask suppliers to hold a larger inventory of stock for those parts that cannot be made in multiple locations. He also suggests that the facilities that make these parts could be design to be more earthquake-proof, with further measures to save these components.
The final step is to increase the independence of Toyota’s operations around the world. This would put less strain on Japan’s production and allow overseas sales to be less affected by a localised disaster.
Toyota hopes to have these measures in effect within five years.