Guide Dogs uses car production tech to improve harnesses

The tech support to improve the production of dogs’ harnesses is part of a three-year partnership between Guide Dogs and Toyota.

Joe Lepper | 10th Jul 19

The charity Guide Dogs has linked up with Toyata to use the car manufacturer’s technology to improve harnesses for its animals.

Toyata was enlisted to help improve the efficiency of the charity’s harness making operation, which is based at the Guide Dog’s National Breeding Centre near Leamington Spa.

This produces all the charity’s harnesses and are worn by dogs across the UK as well as in Belgium, Canada and Australia. Around 1,500 harnesses are produced each year.

Through the link up, Toyota reviewed all aspects of production and distribution and recommended the charity team use kanban – a tool used by the car manufacturer to improve working practices. Its system automatically orders parts as they are used.

Improve efficiency

The system has improved efficiency of harness production, according to the charity, and is also being extended to other Guide Dogs products such as handles, collars and leads.

According to Toyota, the system’s focus on addressing parts shortages means guide dog owners are not kept waiting for equipment they have ordered.

It’s been really useful to work with Toyota and gain a fresh perspective of our harness- making system,” said David Pryke, Workshop Manager at Guide Dogs.

“The Toyota measures led to a 66% reduction in inventory levels, reducing valuable time and costs. These significant efficiency improvements can instead be invested in other valuable areas to improve lives of people living with sight loss.”

Media activity

Meanwhile, Guide Dogs has enlisted Medialab Group as its media agency. The work is across all media and includes work around fundraiding, brand activity and media innovation.

Marcus Orme, Chief Executive Officer at Medialab said: “This is a significant win for us, we are excited to work for such a fantastic cause and look forward to joining Guide Dogs up across brand and acquisition across multiple media channels.”

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