Business Enterprise Award 2001

Toyoda Gosei UK

Toyoda Gosei UK is proving a remarkable inward-investment success story in Rotherham, South Yorkshire – and setting high standards that are opening up excellent training, development and promotion prospects for its staff. It is the first European base of Japanese parent company Toyoda Gosei, itself part of the Toyota Group. The £32M investment to build a high quality factory was announced in June 1999. By the end of October 2000 the plant was in full production, making rubber weatherseals for Toyota and Honda cars.

Approximately 80% of employees are from the local area and include families, people who have worked in companies that have closed down or made redundancies, and others from the ranks of those who have not previously been able to find permanent manufacturing work, new school leavers and so on.

Staff are trained in the Toyota Production System, kaizen (continuous improvement) activities, kanban-led production (a vital part of Just-in-Time efficiency) and other systems aimed at improving the individual and the company.

The workforce has played a major role in outstripping employment and production targets. That, in turn, has enabled TGUK to set it sights higher, including on the jobs front. The original target was 400 by the end of 2004. That is now 500. The company was employing 200+ by summer 2001 and anticipating 265 by the end of September, 294 by the end of October and 320+ by the end of the year.

TGUK has promoted people internally from, for instance, finishers and moulders to posts in quality control and teamleader, and even supervisor or engineer. Some of those are “leapfrogs”, where people have developed so well they have gone straight from, say, finisher to teamleader.

TGUK are currently producing parts for the Toyota Yaris, Honda Civic and Honda KL (new 4WD vehicle) and will soon be starting production for the Toyota Corolla.

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