Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas: Building Cars, Growing People

Touring Toyota Motor Manufacturingtexas In San Antonio.
Toyota Motor ManufacturingTexas in San Antonio. Photo by Shannon Entin for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

More than manufacturing, it’s a member of the community.

At the 4.2 million square foot Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas plant (TMMTX) – which sits on a plot of land in San Antonio that was once the oldest working ranch in Texas (est. 1794) – more than 7,000 workers build 25 variations of the Toyota Tundra and 16 variations of the Toyota Tacoma. But developing trucks is not their only mission. They also work hard developing people.

I spent some time at TMMTX, touring the plant and learning about the people that are responsible for getting a new truck off the line every 60 seconds. While I stared in amazement at the manufacturing lines, robots, and processes, I was even more fascinated by the history of TMMTX, its human resources innovations and its place in the community.

Human Resource Innovations At Toyota Motor Manufacturingtexas In San Antonio.

Dave Crouch, VP of Administration at TMMTX. Photo courtesy of TMMTX.

Methods use to meet the increased demand for trucks

Trucks dominate the market more than ever before and TMMTX can’t build trucks fast enough to meet the demand. One way they handle demand is with mandatory overtime and a recently-implemented “alternate work schedule.” According to Dave Crouch, vice president of administration, every team member rotates to the 2nd shift every two weeks. That means every worker spends 2 weeks on the day shift and 2 weeks on the night shift.

Mandatory overtime? Alternate work schedules? How do the workers feel about this?

Touring Toyota Motor Manufacturingtexas In San Antonio.

Workers alternate to the night shift every two weeks at TMMTX. Photo courtesy of TMMTX.

“Team members feel it’s fair and it allows everyone an equal chance to advance,” says Crouch. Considering the history at TMMTX, I’m inclined to believe him. You see, during the recession of 2008, TMMTX was closed from August to November, but not a single worker was laid off. Team members reported to work, spending their time training on the lines and even working out in the community. And Toyota paid them to do it.

Building A Tundra At Toyota Motor Manufacturing Tx In San Antonio.

Building a Tundra at TMMTX. Photo courtesy of TMMTX.

Still, it’s a challenge to find workers to meet the current demand. Multi-skilled workers such as electricians and welders are hard to find these days. So TMMTX is reaching out locally to high school students and retired military offering training and incentive programs. High schoolers can intern at TMMTX. Graduates can can work two days a week and attend community college three days a week. TMMTX is truly working to develop people and the community.

Touring Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas.

Toyota says it’s committed to creating jobs, developing people, and making better products. By 2017, Toyota’s three separate North American headquarters for manufacturing, sales and marketing, and corporate operations will relocate to a single, state-of-the-art campus in Plano, Texas, furthering their “One Toyota” philosophy of working together with perfectly synchronized goals and actions.

Toyota by the numbers

  • 10 plants in the US, 14 in North America
  • 365,000 jobs created in the US
  • $21.9 billion direct investment in the US
  • 1,336,582 vehicles produced in the US

Thank you to Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas for the opportunity to tour the plant and learn more about the community.

Feeling most at home when on the road, Shannon Entin grew up under the impression that the highest form... More about Shannon Entin