Clean Up Your Act!

Campaign to reduce Project Center North’s paper blob uncovers historic company treasures

December 08, 2015

Historical Significance -- Susan Sanborn, curator of the Toyota USA Automobile Museum, sorts through documents discovered by team members at the Project Center North building on Toyota Motor Sales' headquarters campus in Torrance, Calif.

As the old saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Just ask team members in Project Center North (PCN), on one side of that equation, and Toyota USA Automobile Museum Curator Susan Sanborn, on the other.
In September, Greg Cannan—division information officer in Business Support Solutions—challenged IS team members at the PCN to clear out the glut of books, papers, office supplies and other items that had accumulated over the years in its two-story building on Toyota Motor Sales’ headquarters campus in Torrance, Calif. In addition to tidying up workspaces, Cannan hoped the fall cleaning would set the stage for the rollout of the Records Information Management initiative that aims to help team members and departments work more efficiently with less paper.
But when Sanborn got word of the impending purge, which the PCN branded as “Clean Up Your Act!,” she expressed concern. If team members attacked their paper blob indiscriminately, there was a good chance company property of historical value would be lost along the way. Cannan agreed and asked Sanborn to provide guidelines for the types of things that should be preserved. Among the examples: original corporate brochures, associate gifts, pins, milestone posters, advertising campaigns as well as items that predated 2000.

Dealer Doing -- Here's one of the many finds: A copy of a keynote address delivered by then-Executive Vice President Yale Gieszl at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in Atlanta in 1997.

PCN team members took to the task, encouraged by periodic emails from Cannan with photos of long-forgotten artifacts that had been tucked away in desks, cabinets and closets.
In the end, the campaign filled 20 trash bins, cleared 16 workspaces and wiped clean more than 100 white boards. Oh, and Sanborn received a fresh infusion of valuable material for the company’s archives.
“The Project Center North folks got it just right,” she says. “Now the historic items will have a home in the Toyota Museum.”
Want to learn more about Records Information Management? Check out the group’s website on Toyota Connect by clicking here.
By Jane Stenehjem

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