Toyota’s Efficiency Training Transforms New York Food Bank

The Food Bank for New York City, the country’s largest antihunger charity, has sped up services and slashed wait times at its soup kitchens and food pantries thanks to training from Toyota in kaizen, the car maker’s system for maximizing efficiency in its operations, writes The New York Times.

Rather than donating money to the Food Bank, as it had done in the past, Toyota offered in 2011 to deploy its engineers to tackle operational problems at the charity’s locations across New York via kaizen, a Japanese word meaning “continuous improvement.” The Toyota Production System Support Center provides such consulting for free to about 20 nonprofit groups.

“It’s a form of corporate philanthropy but instead of giving money, they’re sharing expertise,” said David J. Vogel, an expert in corporate social responsibility at the University of California’s Haas School of Business. “It’s quite new.”

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