GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Inside Georgetown’s Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky plant (TMMK), employees here make sure that roughly 2,000 cars roll off the assembly line daily. Now the company is going to return the favor.
On Friday, TMMK president, Susan Elkington announced the plan Toyota has to put 460 million dollars back into its people and its products.
“It’s really about taking and transforming TMMK to take on the projects of the future,” Elkington said on Friday from the Scott County facility.
Anyone who works inside this (or most any) assembly plant knows how noisy it can be all day, every day. To that end, part of this investment will go towards improving that situation.
“Currently a lot of things are done on power conveyors, very noisy, does not make it conducive to a good work environment,” Elkington said. “The new system will be overhead AGV’s, quiet and really allowing team members to concentrate on their work,” she continued.
The TMMK plant will also improve its powertrain line to begin producing a new 2.4-liter turbo engine. That engine – as of now – won’t be for any vehicle that’s manufactured here, according to Elkington, but it will be made here and used on Toyota and Lexus models that are manufactured elsewhere.
But perhaps the biggest change is the elimination of Kelly Services, which recruited, and technically employed up to 1,400 employees. Once the new changes are implemented, those employees and all future employees will be direct hires made by TMMK, and employed by Toyota.
“We can automate many things and improve efficiency, but in order to get that kaizen activity; the continuous improvements, and the next great idea, you need people,” Mrs. Elkington said. “And all of that equipment needs people to take care of it,” she added.
And it’s for those people that much of this nine-figure investment is being earmarked.
“They have proven over and over again about what their capabilities are, and to take on whatever challenge comes their way,” Elkington added.