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Toyota’s Columbus plant model for next facility

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Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing will be the model plant for a new forklift manufacturing facility in Brazil.
Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing will be the model plant for a new forklift manufacturing facility in Brazil. FILE PHOTO

The Columbus-based Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing has been chosen as the model plant for Toyota Industries Corporation, a new forklift manufacturing facility in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This week’s announcement follows one in April by Toyota Material Handling U.S.A., Inc. that it is moving its North American headquarters to Columbus from Irvine, Calif., bringing more than 60 new jobs to the area.

In addition to its history of domestically producing more than 400,000 forklifts since 1990, TIEM was chosen as the model plant for its rigorous quality assurance process. The facility, which employs 724 employees, manufactures more than 30,000 forklifts a year.

According to a company press release, TIEM President Toshiya Yamagishi said the model role is especially rewarding considering the plant’s heritage as the first Toyota forklift manufacturing plant built outside of Japan.

About the company

Toyota Industrial Equipment Mfg. Inc.

5555 Inwood Drive, Columbus

President: Toshiya Yamagishi

Established: October 1988

Start of Operations: May 1990

Employees: 724

Building area: Nearly one million square feet


“As the ‘mother factory’ and prototype model for TICO’s first manufacturing plant in Brazil, we are responsible for training the Brazil plant leaders on everything from quality to safety,” said Yamagishi. “It is an honor to be selected from all 22 Toyota industrial manufacturing plants around the world to help oversee the creation of this new facility.”

Construction for the Sao Paulo plant, which began in June, is slated for completion in 2013. Intended to reduce waste and optimize material flow, the plant’s organization mirrors Toyota Production System and TIEM efficiency and will feature a complete vehicle inspection process area designed to ensure comprehensive product quality.

As the manufacturing division of TICO’s existing sales company, Toyota Material Handling Mercosur Industria e Comercio de Equipamentos Ltda, the plant will manufacture three models of Toyota’s 8-Series internal combustion forklifts.

TIEM and TICO are sending a launch team comprised of production engineering, manufacturing, and quality-control experts to train new employees at the Brazil plant.

The first Toyota plant to supply parts to a TICO plant outside the United States, TIEM will also provide more than 30 percent of the new plant’s forklift components.

“We’re really excited to be chosen as the mother plant for this factory,” said Tony Miller, vice president of engineering and manufacturing. “It will be a boost for our factory, since we will be supplying the key components for that plant.”

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