Québec Public Mothers’ Milk Bank Able to Support More Premature Babies with Help from an Unlikely Partner: Toyota

  • Toyota shares its manufacturing know-how with Héma-Québec to help increase the output of donated breast milk at its Public Mothers’ Milk Bank
  • Toyota and Héma-Québec launch an awareness campaign to “Help Bring Them Home”

(Montréal, Québec – May 10, 2018) Moms are the everyday heroes whose superpower often goes unnoticed – especially when the life of a fragile premature newborn is at risk. That’s why organizations like Héma-Québec do what they can to support mothers who need that extra ounce of courage. And when Toyota was told they could help multiply the important work being done, they seized the opportunity. This Mother’s Day, Toyota Canada and Héma-Québec are inviting Canadians to help create awareness for a program and community dedicated to saving the lives of some of our tiniest citizens:

Héma-Québec’s Public Mother’s Milk Bank provides breast milk donated by new mothers, to Québec hospitals caring for premature babies born at 32 weeks or earlier, whose mothers are unable to breastfeed. Donated milk helps reduce the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious neonatal disease that can attack the digestive system of babies. Every year, many premature infants contract this serious intestinal disease, and far too often, the results are fatal.

In 2017, Toyota partnered with the milk bank to help identify improvement opportunities at their production facility in Montréal, and to help increase the output of milk delivered to partner hospitals across the province. The milk undergoes numerous steps before being shipped to local hospitals.

For more than 25 years, Toyota, through its Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC), has shared the Toyota Production System (TPS) with organizations in the public and private sectors to help them become more productive, maximize available resources and improve their quality and safety. This includes Canadian organizations such as Héma-Québec and Canadian Blood Services.

“Our years of manufacturing experience have taught us that many small improvements in a process can make a big difference – and we’ve learned that this approach can help other organizations outside of manufacturing, too,” said Jamie Bonini, Vice President, TSSC. “Through our collaborations over the years, our partners have acquired the knowledge to feed more clients in need, build more homes, improve quality of care, gain more business, and preserve or create more and better jobs in Canada and the U.S.”

Héma-Québec’s goal was to achieve an annual output of 4,000 litres of milk – an amount that would meet the needs of Québec’s premature babies. By learning how to identify and solve problems using the principles of the Toyota Production System, Héma-Québec was able to achieve key improvements such as:

  • A 20% increase in the distribution of donated milk to partnering hospitals from the milk bank within one year.
  • An almost 500% increase in capacity of production output. Héma-Québec began the partnership with the ability to produce a projected volume of 700 litres of milk per year, and now the milk bank is well on its way to its 4,000-litre per year goal.
  • Double the daily production capacity (from one batch production a day to two batches) with the implementation of standardized process steps.

“Improving the operations of the mothers’ milk bank requires teamwork, partnership and collaboration. Thanks to Toyota’s work with Héma-Québec, the Public Mothers’ Milk Bank team has learned from the philosophies of the world-renowned Toyota Production System and has been able to identify opportunities to increase capacity more rapidly. This joint collaboration translated in sound results, enhancing productivity and maximizing available resources. What seemed to be an unlikely partnership has turned out to be a perfect match,” shared Smaranda Ghibu, acting President, Héma-Québec.

The four fundamental philosophies of the Toyota Production System are:

  1. The customer comes first: Provide customers with what they want, when they want it and in the amount they want it.
  2. People are our most valuable resource: Deeply respect, engage and develop people.
  3. Continuous improvement: Engage everyone each and every day.
  4. Shop floor focus: Go to where the work is done to find and solve problems

Based on the core principles of TPS, Toyota’s goal was to equip Héma-Québec staff with the knowledge and tools necessary for the organization to create and apply its own approaches to production improvements. Toyota believes that for any change to be sustainable, it must be driven by those who carry on the day-to-day operations and actively supported by senior leadership.

New Awareness Campaign Hopes to “Help Bring Them Home”

Approximately 300 active breast milk donors on a constant basis are required to meet the needs of hospitals in Québec. To help meet this goal, Toyota Canada and Héma-Québec have launched a public awareness campaign. For more information about Héma-Québec’s Public Mother’s Milk Bank and how you can help, visit the hema-quebec.gc.qc.ca Mothers’ Milk Bank page. Héma-Québec is the only North American organization that uses the same facilities to prepare and process blood products and breast milk for distribution, and the fourth organization in Canada to create a public mothers’ milk bank.

To learn more about how the Toyota Production System is helping other similar projects in North America through the Toyota Production System Support Centre (TSSC), visit tssc.com.

About Toyota Canada Inc.
Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles.  Toyota has sold over 8 million vehicles in Canada through a national network of 287 Toyota and Lexus dealerships.  Toyota is dedicated to bringing safety, quality, dependability and reliability in the vehicles Canadians drive and the service they receive. TCI’s head office is located in Toronto, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax and parts distribution centres in Toronto and Vancouver. Toyota operates two manufacturing facilities in Canada. Having produced more than seven million vehicles, popular Canadian models built at these facilities include Toyota RAV4, Toyota Corolla, Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid.

About Héma-Québec
Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently meet the needs of the Québec population for quality blood and other biological products of human origin.

Héma-Québec encompasses 1,300 employees and nearly 240,000 blood, stem cell, mother's milk and human tissue donors, in addition to thousands of blood drive volunteers. Each year, Héma-Québec delivers some 750,000 human biological products to Québec hospitals to meet the needs of patients.

Alice Jeon
Communications Specialist
Toyota Canada Inc.

Vanessa Pelletier Jourdain
Public Relations and Social Media

Laurent-Paul Ménard
Director, Public Relations


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