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Fiona

Senior Manager, R&D UX Leader 

What is your role within TME?

I’m Fiona, I’m from Northern Ireland and I have been with TME for 12 years now. I did my Mechanical engineering degree in Edinburgh then a Master in Automotive Engineering at Cranfield in England. I joined TME as a graduate in Body Engineering.  

How and why did you join Toyota?

I started as a Design Engineer then became a manager in our interior team, where we saw a gap between the interiors we were bringing to Europe and the interiors we wanted to bring, so we set up a new group called Sensory Quality.
It began with TME but is now global, and that led to my second assignment to Japan to set up and establish a Sensory Quality Department – so my first assignment was to learn and the second to teach - at Toyota we learn from wherever good ideas come from, so long as you can support your proposals with facts.  

Can you briefly describe your journey through Toyota until now? 

I joined TME as a graduate in Body Engineering and very quickly went on assignment to Japan for year and half living in Toyota City. I was in the first generation of engineers to go to Japan to work with Japanese engineers and learn how to do it then bring all that capability back to TME, then to roll that into production.
I’ve since moved on to develop new cars here and to train the next generation of engineers. I had an introduction to production in my line training as a graduate – it gives you a real insight into what it takes to build a car and that your job has to be right so that what you produce can be easily used.  

What's it like to work at TME?

The Toyota Way teaches us how to approach our work and each other. From the first day It’s part of what we do, beginning with a culture of respect, so respect for ourselves, for other people, for our departments, our suppliers – anyone we come into contact with really. Teamwork is important to us.
Being such a big organisation it’s important that we can all work together and it’s a good way to get to grips with one of our philosophies, which is Genichi Genbutsu, which means to get to the source of whatever we are doing. It’s always resonated with me, together with Kaizen, or continuous improvement. That never rest on your laurels mentality has steered my career at TME. 

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

Everyone here is enthusiastic and highly motivated – and very capable and passionate about what they are doing here you are constantly learning different approaches and different ways to see things. What I like about Toyota is that if you have a good idea and you can see opportunities to improve, you can steer your career – that’s why that Sensory activity that I started with my team went to Japan – it was an improvement on what was there in terms of user experience.  

What three words best describe working at Toyota? 

Interesting, Rewarding, Challenging.