Embraer seeks Toyota expertise to optimize aircraft production

Known for the “kaizen” philosophy of continuous improvement, the Japanese automaker will support aircraft manufacturers to improve their production processes

A sign that Toyota was close to Embraer appeared a few weeks ago when the Nikkei Asia outlet caught the word “kaizen” written on a board inside the plant in São José dos Campos, Brazil.

The Japanese term means something like “continuous improvement”, a philosophy that guides the Toyota Production System (TPS), a process that seeks constant operational gain on the production line.

This is precisely what Embraer intends to achieve with the help of the automobile giant. The two companies signed an agreement this week that aims to eliminate waste, bring operational efficiency gains and greater value creation for shareholders.

“Bringing Toyota to execute this work reinforces Embraer’s commitment to focus on business excellence and sustainable growth,” said Francisco Gomes Neto, CEO of Embraer. “It will be an excellent opportunity to exchange knowledge and accelerate the usage of the Lean philosophy in the production systems, while strengthening practices already conducted by the Embraer Enterprise Excellence Program, the P3E.”

Francisco Gomes Neto, President and CEO of Embraer and Rafael Chang, President of Toyota do Brasil (Embraer)

In the first phase of the joint program, Toyota will have a team integrated into Embraer’s routine with the objective of evaluating and suggesting improvements for the manufacturing area of ​​the company’s main factory, in São José dos Campos.

“TPS is a methodology that can contribute to different scenarios and occasions. More than efficiency and productivity, the TPS can provide solutions that allow industry and other sectors to continuously improve their processes, which is one of Toyota’s pillars worldwide. There is still a possibility that we can contribute to the ESG agenda,” said Rafael Chang, President of Toyota do Brasil.

As recently reported, Embraer is looking to achieve a significant reduction in the production costs of its aircraft, a way to make it more attractive to shareholders and to take advantage of the tough competition for new orders, especially after Airbus took over the Bombardier’s C Series, currently the A220 jet line.

“We do hundreds of kaizen projects every year to increase productivity in our production sites,” a plant manager told Nikkei Asia. “Last year, we were able to achieve a 17% reduction [in production lead time] despite all the difficulty we had in the supply chain,” he added. Embraer aims to achieve a 40% reduction by the end of 2023, now with the help of Toyota.

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