The story of Toyota begins with Sakichi Toyoda who was born in 1867 and began his working life as a carpenter like his father.

I heard a story once, though, about Sakichi’s curiousity.  The story was that he once spent an entire day watching his neighbor’s grandmother make a quilt.  In his search for meaningful work, he let the textile industry lead the way.

What set Sakichi apart is that he wasn’t content to be a regular worker.  He keenly observed the functioning of various machines, then set out to make them better.  He got his first patent in 1891 for the Toyoda Hand Loom.

Through a variety of companies he started, he continued to research and create better and better spinning and weaving equipment.  In 1918, he established Toyoda Boshuku, or Toyoda Spinning and Weaving Company, Ltd. He built a huge plant in Shanghai in 1919 to manufacturer the automatic looms he invented.

In 1924, he completed the Type G Toyoda Automatic Loom that featured an automatic shuttle-changing mechanism, weft-break auto-stop and warp-break auto stop mechanisms and other devices to provide automation, protection, health, and safety.  In 1926, Sakichi incorporated the Toyoda Automatic Loom works to manufacture the Type G.

This loom caught the eye of the world and was licensed to Platt Brothers & Co. Ltd of England in 1929.  The money from this Patent Rights Transfer Agreement was used to launch the Toyota Motor Company.

Sakichi died in October 1930, leaving behind 8 Toyoda companies employing more than 13,000 workers.  Toyota’s first set of guiding principles were derived from Sakichi Toyoda’s working philosophy and consisted of these 5 points.

  1. Always be faithful  to your duties, thereby contributing to the Company and to the overall good.
  2. Always be studious and creative, striving to stay ahead of the times.
  3. Always be practical and avoid frivolousness.
  4. Always strive to build a homelike atmosphere at work that is warm and friendly.
  5. Always have respect for God and remember to be grateful at all times.

Simple guidelines are always best.  What about you and your company?  What are your guiding principles?

We’ll continue on Toyota timeline over the next few days.  Let me know your questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow.