Featured Toyota moves engineering center to TX

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by bwilson4web, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

    Nov 25, 2005
    Huntsville AL
    2017 Prius Prime
    Prime Plus
    Source: Toyota Closing Kentucky Engineering Center | TheDetroitBureau.com

    The company informed Kentucky officials of its plans to close its Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing facility in Erlanger, Kentucky, which is just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, by the end of 2017.

    The move will affect 648 employees, the company notes, with layoffs starting the first week of January and running through the end of 2018. The company’s technical headquarters, the Erlanger facility opened in 1996.

    Moving the engineers away from the Camry manufacturing plant is not something I would encourage. I've noticed in GE and Boeing that the further manufacturing and engineering are apart, there is tendency for small problems to become bigger, longer lasting, and more expensive to fix. Ultimately the product suffers but there is a strange, divergent feedback mechanism.

    As the problems grow in number and impact, headquarters, management, gets more involved. But instead of shortening the feedback mechanisms needed to resolve problems, HQ only ads delays and communications costs. Worse, some of the HQ people use their success 'solving the last problem' to polish their resumes and leave. Meanwhile, engineering moral evaporates because the HQ people take all the credit and send down the blame.

    When I worked in GE Space Division (which no longer exists!) I did everything I could to work in field offices close to their customers. They had a results oriented attitude and open to innovation. But HQ often had people walking around with 'invisible knives' in their backs. What I call 'electro-political' problems.

    If Toyota begins moving manufacturing plants around HQ, it might work. The problem is those states losing manufacturing jobs will hold a grudge against Toyota that won't die easy.

    GOOD LUCK but my experience has not been positive separating engineers from the floor.

    Bob Wilson
    RCO and Prodigyplace like this.
  2. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2016
    Central Virginia
    2017 Prius
    That story reads like they are closing both engineering and manufacturing there so that means Camry manufacturing would move too.
    Sorry to see this.
  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    May 11, 2005
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Plug-in Base
    looks like texas is offering the highest incentives?
  4. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

    Nov 3, 2009
    Austin, TX, USA
    2018 Tesla Model 3
    Yes unfortunately Texas offered lots of incentives, that I think hurts my state. Well california is hurt the most, with the move of toyota headquarters.

    To me the move of engineering to closer to marketing may be a good thing. They weren't going to do it in expensive California. This also gives toyota a chance to clear out the dead wood without it looking like a layoff. New engineering talent probably would rather work in Dallas than Cincinnati (better weather, better sports teams, no personal state income tax, bigger educated work force)

    I don't think engineers near cincinatti got much of the credit, that went to japan. Remember there is the toyota truck plant in San Antonia, and the corrolla plant in mississippi. That leaves all plants within a direct flight from DFW airport near the new head quarters. I'm sure engineers will remain in each plant as well. Amazing how great putting up a few remote camera's in the factory can be. I regularly consult on some plants in malaisia and germany, and can now actually skype with the line people and look at the line on camera, all from home in austin (it makes it nice to not have to be at an office at the wierd times.

    Agree it may be a bad thing if done poorly, but toyota still has the best manufacturing engineering of all the car companies. Lexus has the best QC, but I think all the shots for that are called from Japan.

    Remeber the HQ move was not done in a vacuum. The unintended acceleartion problem with met with PR and hiring of NHTSA employees to politic the organization. There were cover ups of certain items, and boasts of saving money by not implementing NHTSA recomendations. It might have been much less costly if engineering was able to tell the marketing folks there was an engineering solution, and the company needed to do much more dealer training.
    #4 austingreen, Dec 18, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016