Teamwork, Trust, and Automobile manufacturing
June 29, 2011
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Are you involved in culture change on your team or in your organization? If yes, you'll likely find this story compelling.
In 1984, General Motors and Toyota opened NUMMI as a joint venture.
NUMMI: New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.
Toyota was producing better cars at a lower cost than GM. Through NUMMI, Toyota agreed to share it's car manufacturing secrets with GM.
The NUMMI plant (located in California) started to manufacture great cars after they implemented the strategies, tactics and tools shared by Toyota.
The hope was that the NUMMI processes would spread to all the GM plants. But that didn't happen. GM was unable to change the culture at all the other plants. The rest is history. GM went bankrupt and needed to be bailed out by the federal government.
Culture change requires full commitment. GM was not fully committed to the process.
Where did they go wrong?
NPR's "This American Life" offers a fascinating hour-long program describing what happened.