The transportation of parts incurs significant costs and also contributes to the carbon emissions we produce as a business. That makes it an important area for identifying where and how we can make improvements to save money and protect the environment.
The Toyota Parts Centre Europe focused on this issue, involving all its departments and European stakeholders in a thorough review. They concluded that benefits could be gained from rethinking the way trucks are loaded, to make the best possible use of the space available.
It is a "lean" solution to the problem, just like the principles we apply in the Toyota Production System Thanks to great teamwork, the project was rolled out to other facilities in our Parts Supply Chain Group so that they could take up new best-practice methods.
For example, our parts centre in Germany has already been able to save more than €350,000 a year by using boxes that can be returned, extending their lifetime. The new boxes are also designed with better ergonomics so they are easier to handle and allow for more efficient use of space. This means more parts can be loaded in each shipment, ultimately reducing the number of vehicle movements we have to make. And, of course, having fewer trucks on the road means fewer emissions.
These changes had an immediate impact on our supply chain group, in the first year alone saving almost 1.6 million tonnes of CO2.