As a top ten supplier for Toyota, Toyotetsu America, Inc. (TTAI) saw an opportunity to influence and improve supplier communication and collaboration within its global supply chain by digitizing its operations. TTAI makes body parts, functional parts, and chassis parts for Toyota, Nissan, GM, Tesla, and Subaru. In 2016, TTAI began a multi-year initiative called, Toyota Supplier Visualization with the goal of helping Toyota suppliers meet the stringent requirements set by Toyota—and TTAI is leading the charge. Three critical components of the initiative include:
- Incorporating “The Toyota Way” throughout the supply chain based on lean principles and continuous improvement,
- Enabling real-time collaboration between suppliers, and
- Gaining visibility on the shop floors of its facilities across North America to eliminate manual processes.
Not only is the scale and magnitude of this initiative unsurpassed, but it also embraces the tools and technologies for making Industry 4.0 a reality with connected manufacturing.
To support this initiative, TTAI realized it needed a system that would enable it to meet these requirements without complicated customizations or integrations. The Plex Manufacturing Cloud was selected as the single, global instance of truth and as the backbone for the project. TTAI worked closely with Plex to leverage “out of the box” functionality—including PLC integration for 100 percent of its machines and Kanban capabilities—to identify and deliver continuous improvement. Today, two TTAI facilities are up and running including integrated PLCs for more than 250 work centers. By 2020, six more facilities will go live in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
TTAI’s massive undertaking is the beginning of streamlining the entire value chain throughout the Toyota Production System, from OEM to raw material to finished product to shipment to the customer. The company’s drive for excellence has led TTAI to realize their vision to be the leader in smart manufacturing. For this reason, TTAI received the 2019 Plex Impact Award for Leadership at PowerPlex 2019 in Detroit. These annual awards recognize manufacturing transformers, innovators and industry leaders. Each year, Plex recognizes leading manufacturers for their ability to reshape the manufacturing industry, set the bar for best practices, and redefine the way companies succeed and grow.
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