Congratulations, Toyota, on making the move to Plano! As you read this, thousands of team members have moved into our new North American Headquarters in Texas. And the few that remain behind in Torrance and Erlanger are either going to make the move by the end of the year, or move on to a different phase of their career.
So that’s it, right? Say goodbye to our homes in Torrance and Erlanger!
Eh. Not quite yet.
As Toyota wraps up its personnel move and becomes One Toyota, there’s still some unfinished business to attend to at our former TMS and TEMA headquarters in Torrance and Erlanger, and other locations. Mainly, what do we do with all this stuff we’re not bringing with us?
Luckily, we thought of that.
“We have 21 properties that we’re sunsetting in Torrance alone,” says Melanie Batiste, senior manager of the PMO office, who is in charge of the transition in Torrance. “We’re doing it over the course of a few months, and consolidating people into one location on campus.”
Rachel Reuter, Corporate Services project group manager, who is helping the Erlanger sunsetting effort, stressed the need to observe the efforts with grace.
“We still have team members working in the building,” Reuter says. “So we’re making sure we do this with great respect for those people.”
In Torrance, that means half-a-dozen or so crew members from California Office Interiors (COI) come to campus to gather things after everyone else has gone home for the night.
Tables in Torrance -- These tables at the old TMS headquarters in Southern California await transfer to either another Toyota facility or a nonprofit.
But What, Exactly, Are They Doing?
This is a great question!
Batiste can answer. Melanie?
“We took care of the asset disposition in five different ways,” she says. “We transfer to a local Toyota office, donate, recycle, auction or trash. But we try put very little in the trash. We want to minimize our footprint.”
So far, donations represent about 85 percent of the assets in Torrance. In Erlanger, testing equipment has made its way to Toyota’s manufacturing plants, while many of the office supplies have gone to local nonprofits.
In Torrance, Toyota contracted with a nonprofit – called Asset Network for Education Worldwide (ANEW)
– that really knows what it’s doing. In fact, they’re the ones that hired COI to do the heavy lifting.
“We’re trying to figure out the best match for Toyota’s surplus,” says Glenn Sparks, ANEW’s vice president of digital marketing and business development. “Most of it is office material and supplies. So what we’re finding in our efforts to match the surplus with recipients, is that it’s mostly schools who are interested in the office supplies or paper. The 10,000 Post-it notepads could go to 100 different places. Maybe a few dozen schools, nonprofits. Those are welcome items.”
So, rest easy, those ball-point pens you ordered and then left behind are going to good use.
The main distribution method has been an old-fashioned garage sale-style pickup. Since Aug. 10, charities have swung by Torrance’s J Lot every Thursday to grab items that would otherwise be thrown away.
So far, Toyota’s Torrance move has donated to 40 organizations in Southern California. Sparks says he expects that number to rise to as much as 100 by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the folks in Erlanger have been donating to about 25 school districts and nonprofit organizations each week.
A Lasting Impact
Cubicle Cutdown -- Workers from California Office Interior break down cubicles in Torrance.
Indeed, it’s mostly office supplies and smaller items that ANEW and their Erlanger counterparts are dealing with. Many of the bigger items – such as chairs, sofas, conference room tables and AV equipment – are being transferred to other Toyota locations in Southern California. In Erlanger, some of those items are being reused at manufacturing plants. Meanwhile, other assets have been sold at an auction.
But there are two truly unique things coming out of this process.
You know all those metal and glass awards that slept atop shelves and file cabinets all over Torrance? Well they’re being melted down into a sculpture. Though we’re not sure what the sculpture will be quite yet, we do know it will be donated to California State University, Dominguez Hills.
And, the hard-copy collection of Toyota’s repair manuals have found a home at the Central Library in downtown Los Angeles.
Further, the lab in Erlanger has been donated to local schools to help the engineers of tomorrow.
“We want to make sure that we’re leaving a lasting legacy in Erlanger,” Reuter says. “This has been our home for years. And just because we’re leaving doesn’t mean we can’t continue to have an impact.”
By Dan Nied