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ON THE MOVE


HARNESSING HYDROGEN Toyota is supporting the hunt for eco-friendly fuels in a


joint research project to explore hydrogen energy. The company’s working in the United Arab Emirates with research university the Masdar Institute, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Toyota distributor Al-Futtaim Motors to create a sustainable, low-carbon society. The partners will research key issues needed for a


hydrogen-based society, including hydrogen production, logistics, scalability and business feasibility. Toyota will conduct a range of driving and refuelling tests with a Mirai fuel cell vehicle (FCV) from May in the extreme heat and dust of this desert country, which could operate massive hydrogen production facilities at its oil refineries.


WINNING WITH THE WORKERS


Not many companies can boast an 111% increase in monthly profit, but that’s the great achievement by Halfway Toyota in Botswana. When Halfway took over the Ngami


dealership in Maun, the workers were fearful, because the new owners planned massive changes to make the business lean. Terry O’Donoghue, COO of Halfway and a former Vice-President of Toyota SA, was joined by Dave Brunt, CEO of the Lean Enterprise Academy in the UK, in driving the transformation. It was important to recognise that the


employees were struggling, with many of them on anti-retrovirals or looking after extended families, says Sharon Visser, the Principal of Halfway Toyota Ngami. “We decided to have individual conversations with each one of them: they’re valuable to us as 86 individuals, after all, not as one workforce. Talk to people in the right way and their desire to learn will prove almost overwhelming.” An early win was to stop packing wheel bearings by hand and encourage the


staff to design a tool to pack them, thus achieving a 20-minute saving. The 31 minutes previously taken to wash a vehicle was cut to 16 minutes, with improved quality, and a drive-through wet-and-soap station was built with components from a hardware store. A Pre-Diagnostic Bay was created to


inspect vehicles before a service and list the problems so that quotations, parts and approvals could be arranged in advance. Technicians now work from start to finish without delay, boosting efficiency by 20%. When administration couldn’t keep up with the increased volume of vehicles, people’s skills in the office were mapped and tasks reassigned accordingly. These overhauls have seen the average


monthly turnover jump by 57% and monthly profits soar by 111%. “Ngami’s success wouldn’t be possible without the active participation of our people, which we couldn’t achieve without showing respect,” says Visser. “Make caring for them your focus and they’ll honour and reward you.”


PRAISE FOR THE PRIUS Clear proof that environmentally


conscious cars are neither a passing fad nor a tiny niche comes with the news that Toyota has sold 10,05 million hybrid vehicles. Cruising past the 10 million landmark in January shows the staying power of a technology that’s becoming a mainstream solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Amazingly, Toyota first launched


the Coaster Hybrid EV and the Prius – the world’s first mass-produced hybrid passenger vehicle – 20 years ago. “When we launched the Prius,


no-one even knew what a hybrid was,” says Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s Chairman. “Those who drove it were called geeks or other names. Today, thanks to those early adopters, hybrids have ridden the wave of success out of the unknown and into the mainstream.” The use of Toyota’s hybrids has


saved an estimated 29 million kilolitres of petrol and produced 77 million fewer tonnes of CO2


than ordinary vehicles.


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