Pedro Buil Laguarta, 44
General manager, production control, Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
My first job right after university was as a field test engineer at Continental’s tire division in Germany. I have been passionate about cars and factories since I was a kid. During my studies I spent every summer doing internships at factories run by General Motors and truck maker MAN. It deepened my passion for the industry.
Pedro Buil Laguarta
Born: Huesca, Spain
Languages: Spanish, English, German, French
Education: Master’s degree in industrial engineering, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain
Your greatest achievement?
I’m an engineer who primarily has a manufacturing background. However, I was given the difficult task of reshaping Toyota Germany’s marketing and sales company, which includes model distribution and network structure. It was a daunting task but I managed it successfully by applying Toyota Production System techniques to the sales and distribution process. What we achieved is still a blueprint in Europe for the company for managing supply and demand. That is because we achieve a 60 percent reduction in customer lead time and slashed the age of the inventory by 50 percent.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
My standards are very high, so I feel like I’m constantly failing. To me my worst failures are when I have to let people go. I always think that I could have done more. I’m very attached to the people who work with me and I feel responsible for them.
What is your current challenge at work?
The push to make cars more connected, autonomous, shared and electrified (CASE) means it is more difficult than ever to create a sustainable business model that balances costs and customer requirements. The difficulty is determining how to work with increasingly complex products that demand a high level of personalization. These products also have to be delivered faster than ever. We need to consider maintaining sufficient profit in a cost-sensitive market. We also have to think about how to transform our company’s organization and structure to successfully cope with this paradigm. It’s a lot to work on but with my different professional experiences I can addresses these challenges from multiple angles and help lead in this fast-change environment.
2020-present: General manager, production control, Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile, Kolin, Czech Republic
2016-2019: General manager, production control for Europe plants and parts export, Toyota Europe, Brussels, Belgium
2014-2015: Head of sales, planning division, and leader of business reform projects, Toyota Germany, Cologne, Germany
2012-2014: Head of demand and supply improvement, Scandinavia and Baltics, Toyota Nordics, Copenhagen, Denmark
2006-2011: Manager and senior manager of business reform, Toyota Europe, Brussels
2003-2005: Manufacturing, scheduling and purchasing plant general manager, Oetiker Spain, Cadiz, Spain
What is the best advice you have ever received?
My dad always told me that you have to be an honest, good person who keeps his word no matter what. He has led by example. Also, make sure that what you want is really what you want. It’s important to understand the personal and professional sacrifices that are necessary to achieve certain goals. You need to know how much you are willing to trade off and if the end goal is worth it. Once you are clear about that, don’t let anything stop you.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Prioritize your personal and professional development over everything else. That includes titles and money. Be patient and consistent as you build your fundamental professional skills. Don’t skip any steps.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I want to have the chance to make a difference in business as well as societal and human development. Ideally, I want to be at the center of the action, a situation where I’m always challenged and able to learn.
What do you do to relax?
I love spending time with my wife and children. That gives me the balance I need and allows me to reset my brain. I’m also a big basketball fan.
What is your dream location to live?
Spain! Good weather, good people, good food. What else could you ask for?
What is your favorite driving song?
“American Pie” by Don McLean.
What was your favorite road trip and why?
As a child I cherished driving with my parents around the Pyrenees mountains. I’m one of six children so driving along those narrow, winding roads gave me a chance to have some quality time with them. We could talk for hours. My parents are my role models. Now I enjoy that same journey with my wife and daughters.
What was your first car?
A Toyota Corolla 1.6P. I had very little money, so I spent a year researching which hatchback provided the best value and highest customer satisfaction. I drove that car for 15 years and never had a problem with it.
A Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
A Toyota Hilux. It’s agile on any type of environment, even on the world’s most challenging terrain. It is the most loyal partner you can rely on to get you home safely.