The Toyota Production System Support Center’s (TSSC) partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank started during the recession as resources dwindled and cash-strapped organizations donated less to the food bank. At the same time, demand soared.
While Toyota workers worked in the Food Bank, they were able to identify small inefficiencies in the warehouse and recommended more functional equipment. They even joined teams of volunteers and shared tips to win friendly competitions to bag food more quickly than their co-workers.
Since then, order errors at the food bank have tumbled 80 percent; overtime is down 20 percent and a new warehouse will double its storage capacity and increase refrigerated space by 200 percent — all without hiring any additional employees.
The automaker’s emphasis on continuous improvement, known as “kaizen”, was able to overturn a top-down mentality at the food bank.