Toyota: From Lean Manufacturing to Lean Startup

Matt Kresse and Vinuth Rai from Toyota who are building a networked idea.

Why is Toyota trying to learn lean?

We’re not pros, though many of the principles come from the Toyota prod system, there were parts of the company (software for eg) still stuck in the old way. Takes 3 years to get products out (with no customer dev)- a big concern for us.

We read lean startup and convinced upper management to run lean. So we created an MVP using an android tablet and stuck it on the car for a MVP of a nav system.

We wanted to make a platform that helped us learn how customers use mobile in their cars. To find customers we put up a note on Craig’s list, and we got a great response and used a sample of them to get a sense of what their problems were in the car. We put our MVP into five of those customers to test. They could use it a month and either keep it or give us $100. after a month 60% retention and a 40% retention rate. So we told upper management about our learnings and methodolgies and they said “so what?” Toyota sells cars very well! We got feedback that the metrics about our component were interesting but rather management wanted to know how could it relate to the whole product (the car).

Toyota is a big company. We wanted to get customers as part of our development process. A small working group across two locations was set up to run experiments with our test cars. Had a meeting with them together and talked about how we wanted to create a product vision.

We used Innovation Accounting to keep us on track. We update the dashboard every day. We mapped out each of our experiments and laid it against time and learning scale.

It’s not been easy. It’s been challenging, but we think the product we create will be better.

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