Toyota has opened its North American Production Support Center (NAPSC), a training facility located in Georgetown, Kentucky which will serve Toyota's plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The centre will act as an extension for Toyota's Global Production Center (GPC) -- an initiative begun in 2003 to share best practices globally in a standardised manner.

Team members who will train at the NAPSC will simulate hands-on operations including: stamping, body weld, paint, plastics, assembly, quality control and internal logistics. Future programmes will include axle and engine assembly, machining and casting functions.

"As Toyota continues to expand its manufacturing worldwide, our regional production centers will play an important role in taking on the challenges we face," said Atsushi Niimi, senior managing director of Toyota Motor Corporation. "The NAPSC represents the hard work and commitment of our team members who are building a better, more successful Toyota."

Modeled after the Global Production Center at Toyota's Motomachi facility in Japan, where a large number of mid-level plant managers from around the world train in best practices, the NAPSC will offer support for Toyota's manufacturing plants across North America.

"Through this cascading system at the NAPSC, we will train everyone using the same method," said Gary Convis, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc. "As a result, our team members will be able to better focus on quality, safety and efficiency."

The NAPSC is expected to employ 29 team members, which includes seven full-time regional trainers selected due to their average of 16 years of manufacturing experience and expertise.

Programs offered at the NAPSC include: production, maintenance, supervisor and management systems training, as well as classes and hands-on, shop-floor simulations in management training to show managers how to observe team members and how to coach them.

The NAPSC's 98,000 square foot facility followed the guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council to ensure that the facility met environmental standards for site development, material selection, water savings, energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality. Located in a former Toyota training center, the NAPSC represents a US$12m investment to expand and refurbish the facility with all-new equipment.