Seizo Okamoto: San Antonio will learn from Princeton.
Unlike Princeton, which receives parts shipments from around the United States, San Antonio includes an integrated supplier park where 18 to 20 component suppliers will produce their parts.
Staff Reporter Lindsay Chappell talked about the difference with Seizo Okamoto, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc. Okamoto also is directing the San Antonio startup.
San Antonio is a different setup for Toyota, with suppliers located on-site.
The concept isn't so different. We introduced the first on-site supplier here in Princeton. Vuteq (Corp.) is located on our property, effective with the launch of the Sienna two years ago. So we introduced it. They will expand on it.
If that's the case, can we assume that you will move some other suppliers a little closer here in Princeton, too?
No, no more in Indiana. We're quite isolated.
From the beginning, suppliers hesitated to come too close. One supplier located about 30 minutes away; another is 60 minutes away. We can share in addressing some functions, like safety policy, environmental policies.
Why do it to the degree that you are in Texas?
For the communication. It provides quick feedback from a quality standpoint. And it takes cost out. And it allows you to share some new ideas. We've tried to improve those issues with the suppliers who are closer.
If the Toyota board asked you to begin building another assembly plant tomorrow, which version would you construct: Princeton, with its traditional supplier logistics, or San Antonio?
Every time we build a new plant, it is a better plant. So that means Texas must be an improved model.