Is Your Toyota Dealer Lean?

Is your car dealer Lean?

A white board catches my eye while at a Toyota dealer.  It reminds me of the many boards used to communicate Lean activities in manufacturing, hospitals, and other sites that are in pursuit of a Lean Transformation.  I ask the manager what the board is tracking and he tells me how they can’t afford to keep used cars on the lot for more than 60 days.  A small label is placed on a magnet to represent each used car in inventory.  Recently acquired used vehicles are placed under the current label to the left.  This label will be removed when the car is sold or moved to the right every 30 days.  Inventory that has been on hand for 60 days is sent to auction.

This is a great example of visual management.  One can imagine that the manager is ready to cut a better deal with would be buyers as those labels move across the board and approach an auction date.  Cars are much less likely to get lost in the back of the lot since they are not dependant on a filing system to keep track of the aging inventory.  How else might this benefit?  Do you have any examples of Visual Management to share?

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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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