A few years back i did something i had never imagined – i bought a Toyota. I had set out that day to get a Ford Fusion because Ford took the least government bailouts when things were bad back in ’07 and ’08. i was unable to afford that Fusion i wanted – lucky for me. it turns out they are largely built in Mexico and many fusion owners regret their decision. The cheaper Toyota was built in Kentucky or Indiana and i’m told it has more American made parts than many American cars. its sad what has happened in Detroit.
How did Detroit go so far into the red?
A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile .
The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people paddling and 1 person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people paddling. Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were paddling.
Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the paddling team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.
They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people paddling the boat greater incentive to work harder . It was called the ‘Rowing Team Quality First’ Program, with meetings, dinners and free pens for the paddlers. There was discussion of getting new paddles, new canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices , and possibly even bonuses. The old company pension program was trimmed down to ‘equal the competition’ and a very small portion of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles.
Humiliated, the American management laid off one paddler, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and cancelled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was then distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses.
The next year, try as he might, the lone designated paddler was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles), so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year’s racing team was out-sourced to India.
Here’s something else to think about:
GM has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US claiming they can’t make money paying American wages.
TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US.
The last quarter’s results: TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while GM rack s up 9 billion in losses.
GM senior executives are still scratching their heads, and they are still collecting bonuses….
IF THIS WEREN’T SO TRUE IT MIGHT BE FUNNY.