Corporate Culture-Committing to Strong Values

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-By Aleisha Parr

For over forty years, the Toyota Tsusho (TT) Corporation of Australasia has been supplying the Australian automotive industry with quality fabric and automotive components. As the company grew to meet evolving market demands, upper management elected to simultaneously pursue a new opportunity which had arisen, enabling the company to provide extended servicing of customer needs through the development of a complementary logistics service division. The late nineties saw the emergence of this division, growing from a team of four or five individuals servicing only its own sales group to a national team of approximately one hundred and forty staff. Three years ago last month, Toyota Tsusho (Australasia) Logistics was established as a separate company – a move which allowed the company to not only continue to add value to its existing clients from TT Corporation, but also to open its offerings to a much broader market.

While TT Logistics primarily services the automotive industry, in keeping with its long-established industry-specific expertise, it also now offers solutions to non-automotive industries, especially those within the retail sector. Because of its access to trading services through its connection with TT Corporation, the company is able to add even further value to its customers.

This shift into the retail sector is timely for the rapidly developing company, as manufacturing in Australia offers limited opportunities at the moment. To rise above this limitation, TT Logistics developed a vendor-managed inventory system, which has helped it to continue to offer its services consistently and successfully throughout multiple industries in Australia and more recently, globally, with engagement throughout Europe, Thailand, China, and South and North America.

“We’re really focussing on delivering to customers something that they don’t have,” explains Managing Director, Umit Nedim. “We provide variable costs, supply chain visibility, and information that they can react on, all of which will cut down inventory levels in the supply chain and ultimately reduce their costs.”

Indeed, TT Logistics is typically able to offer its customers a cost savings of approximately twenty to thirty per cent annually by providing variable costs in accordance with market fluctuations and changing customer needs. Boasts Mr Nedim: “We have the track record. We have the systems, the capabilities and the culture to deliver all these.”

Those values mentioned by Mr Nedim are what he says both drive the company on an organisational level and also ensure that the company continues to excel in service delivery with each and every client relationship it builds. Passed down through the organisation from the Toyota Group, these five Operating Principles inform every aspect of TT Logistics’ business: Inventory Management; Kaizen (or Continuous Improvement); Quality and Environmental Management; Lean Manufacturing; and Anzen. Says Mr Nedim, “When we talk about these things it’s because they are part of the culture of our company and that becomes part of our commitment. Whereas other people might talk about them and want to do them, these are built right into our core culture and structure.”

Inventory Management

Using a disciplined receipt and cycle count regime, TT Logistics is able to ensure that its Warehouse Management System (WMS) accurately reflects all current stock levels. This information is then made available to all stakeholders with approved access to the system through its WMS program, TT Logix. Through this program, customers are able to follow the process of stock from manufacturing in its country of origin, through to export clearances, transit and sale or use availability. TT Logistics upholds an alert system to monitor minimum and maximum inventory levels on the WMS, sending out alerts to customers as required when pre-determined stock levels are outside of expected norms.

“We are one of the few companies who guarantee one hundred per cent inventory accuracy,” says Mr Nedim, “and we do back that up. I don’t know of anyone else [in the industry] who does that.”

Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)

TT Logistics works to encourage all of its team members to play an active role in the development of creative solutions within the company and its primary functions. Kaizen activities are structured to support the staff in continuously evolving and becoming stronger individually and as a team. Issues of Efficiency, Safety, Housekeeping, Quality and Environment are all addressed through these projects, by the staff directly affected by each issue.

“The employee, customer and company all benefit, therefore we are all responsible for the success of the Kaizen Program.”

Quality and Environmental Management

With its own environmental management system, accredited to the international standard AS/NZS/ISO14001:2004, as well as quality accreditation to AS/NZS/ISO9001:2008, TT Logistics maintains its commitment to quality, the environment and overall customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, the company is committed to continuously improving its own environmental outputs, and since its inception, has drastically reduced its waste materials, energy use, water use and has increased both its recycling and carbon offset of total greenhouse gases.

Lean Manufacturing

In accordance with the Toyota Production System (TPS) production control method, TT Logistics is able to successfully reduce waste (Muda) through its adherence to certain daily activities, at minimum cost to operations. The TPS method is comprised of Production scheduling, Kanban, Just-In-Time (JIT), and 5S.

TT Logistics works to eliminate Muda in nine different areas: overproduction, waiting, transporting, processing, inventory, motion, correcting defects, untapped resources, and misused resources.

Anzen

The word ‘Anzen’ literally means “keep my family from harm.” Mr Nedim explains that TT Logistics treats each of its employees as part of the global family, ensuring their safety, support, growth and satisfaction. In this sense, Anzen is promoted throughout the company as a stronger form of Occupational Health and Safety.

Through these five Operating Principles, as well as its long-term vision, TT Logistics has been quite successful at meeting and exceeding its customers’ needs, and is entering into a new growth phase as it continues not only to expand globally, but also to increase its reach across Australia through diversification into non-automotive industry relationships. At present, the company is working together with a number of new customers to establish operations in Sydney, Brisbane and WA, with a target date set for January of 2012.

“We have been successful with customers in Australia, because a lot of companies are looking for those things that we demonstrate: the inventory management, the continuous improvement, and so on, because there are a lot of pressures on cost. Unless you are continually improving your processes and reducing your costs, you’re not going to be able to be successful. So, because of our strong Operating Principles, we have been very successful lately.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

June 19, 2018, 8:11 PM AEST