Forbes features Toyota Mississippi plant

Nice job by Micheline Maynard of Forbes in getting access to the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi plant in Blue Springs, and a nice story on the Japanese automaker’s “radical” new design for its assembly plant.

Here’s a link to the Forbes story (cllck here).

And here’s an excerpt:

Even by Toyota’s innovative manufacturing standards, its newest factory looks nothing like any car plant that’s come before it. You can see straight up to the ceiling and across every row on the line. Workers pluck parts from prestocked boxes already arranged in the order they need them. The clanking of machinery overhead, the piles of parts next to the assembly line, cars stretched end to end – that’s all gone, replaced by a hushed bustle familiar to anyone who works in a busy office.

But even more stunning than the quiet is the location. This isn’t Japan. The $800 million plant–the most advanced of all 65 the company owns or operates worldwide – sits atop the red, clay-rich soil of Blue Springs, Miss., 20 minutes from Elvis’ birthplace.

Blue Springs represents more than just cranking out Corollas – it’s a statement for a company that always put Japan first and everyone else second and a potential blueprint, given Toyota’s clout, for how cars will be built going forward.