As the world faces the coronavirus pandemic, Toyota Motor Europe, its manufacturing plants, its national marketing and sales companies, its retailer network and other Toyota entities in Europe have all spontaneously taken initiatives and responded to the needs of the communities around them in various ways, with priority given to supporting healthcare and emergency services and personnel.
Toyota’s core value has always been to contribute to society in meaningful ways, looking for easier ways to do things, which stems from the company founder’s initial motivation to create an automatic loom to relieve the work burden of his own mother. These values are cultivated in the company to this day and members of Toyota, including retailers, have responded to support their communities in a current public health crisis that is especially serious in Europe.
The support extended to local hospitals and other emergency services range from providing essential supplies such as masks from existing stock at the start of the crisis; making donations to allow the purchase of essential ventilators; making available hundreds of vehicles to organisations such as the Red Cross and other non-profit and public organisations; and using 3D parts printing to make face masks and hands-free door openers.
Another way Toyota manufacturing team members have been helping is to support with Toyota Production System (TPS) know-how and technical knowledge, allowing some hospitals to better manage their manpower allocation to deal with the extra workload and to assemble medical equipment or fix hospital beds.
Requests from the community typically reach Toyota entities based on their local roots and are evaluated locally. Ideas are also shared amongst entities in Europe.
Here are some of the inspiring examples of what has been done so far:
- Medical face shields (protection masks): Toyota is using 3D printing and assembly to make simple face protection shields (clear plastic and head-band) for local hospitals / health care workers and for internal use. These shields are being manufactured in the factories in France, Poland and the UK at a rate of nearly 300 shields per day. They are also sharing their best practices with others.
- Hands-free door openers: In the Toyota production factories of Poland and France, employees are utilizing 3D printers to create parts for hands free-door handles based on a freely available design here: https://www.materialise.com/en/hands-free-door-opener
- Provide knowledge: Toyota has offered and stands ready to contribute its lean manufacturing (TPS) expertise to help medical equipment manufacturers (e.g. ventilators) to increase their productivity and output. Toyota is also providing manufacturing and engineering know-how to help medical staff manpower management (visual manning control and versatility boards) and support with the maintenance of medical equipment.
- Vehicle support: Throughout Europe, Toyota is providing vehicles, car-rental, and free road-side assistance to health or related public support staff, but also to volunteer organisation, hospitals and local Red Cross organisations.
- In-kind donations: There have been significant donations to national and local emergency response and health organizations, hospitals, emergency management teams, and first responders. Items donated included masks, safety glasses, shoe/boot covers, gloves, and other protective gear to multiple local organizations. Vehicle servicing for medical employees are also being offered. Some plants have also offered logistical support through loaning forklifts and warehouse or parking space.
- Monetary donations: Several entities in Europe have made monetary donations to help municipal services, hospitals, health foundations and volunteer associations.
- Retailer and customer support: Toyota together with its financial services subsidiary Toyota Financial Services Europe, has also been helping customers with individual financial agreements, in particular those customers who are affected by the loss of employment or business income.
Source: Toyota Motor Europe