Group Vice President
University of Toyota
Bryan Bergsteinsson, group vice president of the University of Toyota, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., led the creation of the University of Toyota, the learning support arm for Toyota Motor Sales, as part of Toyota Motor Sales’ “New Era Initiatives.” The phrase “new era” brings to mind a host of innovative technologies and processes with which to enhance employee education in an enterprise. Under Bergsteinsson’s direction, the University of Toyota focused on organizational performance and the core competencies necessary to enhance overall sales and customer satisfaction, continually improving the performance of Toyota associates and dealers through lifelong learning.
With Bergsteinsson at the helm, the team at the University of Toyota has closely aligned its learning goals with the strategic direction and tactical business operations of Toyota customers. For instance, Bergsteinsson has moved the organization from a product-oriented cost center to a cohesive ISO 9001-certified business center, where productivity has almost tripled in three years and revenue has grown from $13.5 to $41 million.
Three years ago, Toyota’s plan to implement the “Toyota Way” was still in its infancy. Bergsteinsson leveraged “lean” management techniques to reduce waste and improve efficiency by establishing lean goals and metrics, and then applied “Lean Thinking” principles to a manufacturing culture of knowledge and service workers. Bergsteinsson has helped improve work processes that will lead to more than $2 million in direct cost savings in the first full year of implementation and impact customer responsiveness and satisfaction, production cycle time and quality.
Bergsteinsson has reduced budget expenditures by 30 percent, and led construction of a global learning and knowledge-sharing organization that has increased total dollar volume by more than 40 percent. With 34 years of experience in a range of roles at Toyota that include vice president of human resources, national product planning manager and general manager of the Lexus Division, Bergsteinsson views his primary role in the company not as an innovator but as a servant leader, one who has “walked in the shoes of the people his organization supports,” mediating, listening, building and mentoring.