Car Talk's Jim Motavalli recently visited Honda's Marysville, Ohio plant, and learned that the nearly 80 percent of the car parts used across Honda's U.S. lineup are made here at home in America at some of the world's cleanest factories. While visiting the factory, Motavalli experienced the Japanese automaker's relentless drive to not only maximize their resources, but also minimize their waste. The Japanese automaker won't let a second of time or even the land surrounding the 3.6 million sq. ft. facility be deem invaluable.
While watching the production of a Honda Accord, Motavalli was vocalized his fascination of plant workers' "coordinated movements [that] they could teach ballet students as choreography"1 and later wrote," If it appears that there are no wasted movements, that's because Honda is relentless at eliminating them."2
Surprisingly, the Big H's determination is not always driven by cost savings. For the Japanese automaker maximizing resources and minimizing waste is simply a matter of doing what is right. Ron Lietzke, Honda manufacturing spokesman in Ohio, told Motavalli that in the majority of situations it is actually more cost effective for the automaker to haul off the company's waste, but they choose to spend the extra pennies, because it won't help Honda improve efficiency or meet their lofty environmental goals if they don't.
Fueled by the same utilitarian philosophy that motivates Honda's impressive time management, the Japanese automaker is also devoted to minimizing physical waste. Currently, Honda has ten zero-waste plants worldwide. Unfortunately, lightweight aluminum hoods are the only thing keeping the Japanese automaker's East Liberty and Marysville facilities from being zero-waste. And, currently the benefits associated with using the aluminum hoods outnumber the drawbacks.
You are probably wondering?Where do the soybeans come in? Well, just as Honda hates wasting a moment of idle time or a single piece of scrap resources, they also refuse to waste the land surrounding their factories. So, in addition to producing cars, the Japanese automaker actually farms the land and has an organic food exporting business. And, they are doing quite well as they're the largest exporter of food-grade organic soybeans in the entire state of Ohio. Soybeans, as some of you may know, continue to be the state's most significant exported crop.
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