/The application of lean IT at Toyota Motor Europe

The application of lean IT at Toyota Motor Europe

VIDEO INTERVIEW – We spoke with Toyota Motor Europe’s CIO at the Lean IT Summit about hoshin and IT, the application of the agile methodology, and the power of coaching.

Interviewee: Pierre Masai, CIO, Toyota Motor Europe

Photo courtesy of: Camille Brunat DocuDoc films

Roberto Priolo: In what way is the pursuit of one-piece flow different in an IT environment than in other scenarios?

Pierre Masai: The difference is in the nature of the piece that will go through the flow, not in the principles themselves. These work as well in IT as they do in manufacturing.

RP: How does the IT function integrate with the rest of the business at Toyota Motor Europe and how do you build it into your strategy deployment?

PM: There is a company hoshin that explains the organizational priorities and an IT hoshin that is linked to what it takes to have IT support the rest of the business. Our people need to know how they can contribute to the company hoshin.

RP: You use several Agile tools and methodologies. Do you apply them as they are or were they adapted to Toyota’s specific needs?

PM: Because we don’t mandate a particular methodology, there is some flexibility in the way people use tools. We have not created a specific Toyota-branded methodology – that would make no sense for us to readapt concepts that came, at least partially, from the Toyota Production System. Within Toyota, of course, we will at some point apply some kaizen that might create a diversion in the way the tools are used.

RP:  How do you measure the impact that each action you take in IT has on the customer?

PM: The customer may be very different depending on what part of IT we are talking about. We might be dealing with a final customer (for example in the car making side of the business) or with an internal one (like in IT). There is always a customer in everything we do, however, and if we can’t identify value for a customer then maybe we shouldn’t be doing that activity at all.

RP: What advice would you give other IT leaders?

PM: To always persevere. It will take a lot of time, and it won’t be obvious from the start. You will need to start slow to show results on a small activity and convince more and more people. You may need a coach to do that at the beginning, but you should also work to develop everybody as a coach gradually. That’s the only way to sustain results.