Quote: Copying processes does not work

November 22nd, 2020

The following story from before the Second World War, when Toyota made weaving looms, provides an example of this way of thinking. It comes from a Toyota booklet about the spirit and ideas that created the company, and relates how Kiichiro Toyoda (1894–1952), founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation and son of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works founder Sakichi Toyoda, supposedly responded when someone once stole the design plans for a loom from the Toyoda loom works:


Certainly the thieves may be able to follow the design plans and produce a loom. But we are modifying and improving our looms every day. So by the time the thieves have produced a loom from the plans they stole, we will have already advanced well beyond that point. And because they do not have the expertise gained from the failures it took to produce the original, they will waste a great deal more time than us as they move to improve their loom. We need not be concerned about what happened. We need only continue as always, making our improvements.


(src: Book: Toyota kata)

(origin: “Open the Window. It’s a Big World Out there! The Spirit and the Ideas That Created Toyota,” pamphlet published by Toyota Kaikan, Toyota Motor Corporation, October 1993.)