The slowdown in the Indian automotive industry has been making headline news in recent times. More disturbing is the bit about layoffs across the entire ecosystem (OEMs, suppliers and dealers) where reports have suggested lakhs of jobs being lost.

“Sacking people was never a strategy for us at Toyota Kirloskar and we have been managing the crisis,” says N Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar.

Masakazu Yoshimura, MD, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, chips in to say that while the going has doubtless been “very tough”, asking someone to leave just to cut costs “is just not right”. In his view, this is not acceptable especially when when he or she could be a potential customer in the future.

According to Yoshimura, once this principle is in place, “you know what needs to be done”. Within TKM, people are asked to focus on improving efficiencies which, in turn, can lead to benefits like reduction in costs for overheads like air-conditioning for instance.

He adds that social responsibility is the company’s mantra and it has been especially fortunate with the fact that there are other Toyota plants worldwide buying products from TKM. Beyond the company alone, there are also constant efforts to ensure that profitability of its dealers and suppliers is also not impacted in these tough times,

“We need to have a focus every time in what is referred to as PDCA or plan-do-check-act,” says Yoshimura. Once this this is standardised, the kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement sets in. When this is repeated, as part of the Toyota credo, any entity or individual will end up becoming far more agile and flexible.

Part of the problem-solving process at Toyota, this s helps especially in these turbulent times when efficient processes help take on the challenge of tackling the slowdown. Likewise, they also enable suppliers and dealers prepare themselves for the future as more disruptions are likely to happen in the future. By the end of the day, the benefits accruing with the focus on PDCA will be immense.

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