Who is Shoichiro Toyoda and how did he impact international business?
Shoichiro Toyoda, born in 1925, is currently the honorary chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation. The name Toyota is synonymous with quality and the Total Quality Management (TQM) philosophy that had others eager to learn the Toyota methodology. Although the premise still stands, in recent years, Toyota has suffered enormously due to vehicle recalls and a shifting sense of the customer.
Shoichiro followed his father into the family business which was not an automobile company but was initially started by his grandfather as a textile business and which business still operates today. The Toyoda family and its Automatic Loom Works was able to fund its automotive efforts due to the successful invention and patent of an automatic loom.
Even though the automobile business was successful, Shoichiro recognized a need within Toyota for a better quality vehicle to compete in world markets. In 1980, as Executive Vice President, he was awarded the Deming Prize for Individuals, an award that recognizes the contribution to "global quality" and a dedicated application of the principles of TQM. His effrots continued and in 1982, the production and sales branches of Toyota merged, Shoichiro spearheading the efforts, recognizing the need to merge the two very distinct cultures that had developed separately up to that point.
Between 1994 and 1998, Shoichiro Toyoda served as chairman of the Japan Business Federation. In 2007, he was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame alongside the founders of Chevrolet, Chrysler, Ford, Ferrari and Honda and many others. Due to his business acumen, Shoichiro is therefore recognized as one of Japan's most revered business leaders. He is a true communicator, promoting international co-operation and inspiring many.