From Looms to Lean Manufacturing: a Visit to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
On a balmy summer day in June, 17 international students representing 13 nationalities were guided on a trip to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology in Nagoya's Nishi Ward, near Sako Station. Their mission was to learn more about the humble beginnings of a powerhouse in the global automobile industry, the Toyota Motor Company, and to gain a stronger understanding of Japanese industrial history.
Established 28 years ago with the purpose of systematically introducing the history of Japanese manufacturing technology to those who will be responsible for its future development, the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology exhibits the textile machinery that was one of the core industries that helped build modern Japan, and the evolving world of automobile engineering that continues to drive the country’s development.
Amongst the group was MBA candidate Naman Tyagi, a Spring 2022 enrollee from India with a background in automotive engineering. He describes his experience as follows.
The learning from the visit was less about technology and more about industrial culture of Japan. It was perfect opportunity for students like me who wish to go beyond traditional classroom learning. The visit was a window to Japan's rapid industrialization and progress in the postwar period as well as Toyota's transformation from innovative handloom company to a mobility solution company that has improved the quality of lives of innumerable customers globally. My personal takeaway from the visit came from the "Partner Robot," which, to me, symbolizes automation with a human touch or "autonomation."
Extracurricular cultural enrichment trips and activities are great opportunities to supplement the learning done in the classroom. Whether it's from visiting a historical site or taking a factory or museum tour, lasting memories of new experiences help shape international students' understanding of the different ways in which ideas, along with goods and services, are exchanged from culture to culture.