By on April 8, 2011

Better get used to this: Barely had Toyota announced that it will reopen its Japanese plants, then Toyota U.S.A. chimes in and says: “We are shutting down.” Welcome to the supply chain gang. Toyota is running its N.A. vehicle plants on what they call “a reduced schedule.”

Meaning:

  • Production will be suspended on April 15, 18, 21, 22, and 25.
  • The Georgetown, Ky plant will build vehicles on April 21
  • Most of the company’s North American engine and component plants will follow the same schedule.
  • Future production plans will be determined at a later date.

There will be no layoffs. Employees may report to work for training and plant improvement activities, use vacation, or take unpaid time off.

The reason for the reduced schedule are the well-known parts problems. Toyota’s N.A. production is to 85 percent local (NAFTA) content. The devil lurks in the remaining 15 percent. Until recently, Toyota Japan was short 500 parts positions. Now the shortlist is down to 150. As trite as it sounds by now, a single missing part …

Toyota spokesman Mike Goss told Reuters that for the period from March 11 to April 25, Toyota is looking at a shortfall of 35,000 units. In Japan, the number stands at 260,000 for the period from March 14 through April 8.

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