The Man Driving Toyota from Business Week:
Toyota has grown in the past few years, but [there’s a risk] that a belief that the current status is satisfactory creeps into the minds of employees. That’s what I’m worried about.
We should never be satisfied with the current status. In each division, function, or region, we still have numerous problems to cope with. We need to identify each one of those tasks or problems and fully recognize them and pursue the causes. This needs to be done by all the people working for Toyota.
I think, this echoes my recent comment on post, Is Quality Foolproof? (unfortunately the link is broken, so I removed it. Luckily I posted my comments here so they are not gone), on the Vision Thing blog:
I think the instances of such failures are just a sign that even Toyota still has quite a bit to improve. I think this announcement likely is a result of common cause variation
(it is the natural result of the current system). The natural result (of the system) is not that they have this particular failure, but that this recall is consistent with the % of vehicles that required a recall of this general character. I believe they are getting better over time but they still have a long way to go. With a result based on common cause you want to look at the entire system when designing an improvement plan not at the root cause of the seat belt issue. See Responding to Variation
online and the book, Forth Generation Management
, by Brian Joiner.
It is good to see the new Toyota CEO still believes they need to keep keenly focused on continuous improvement.
Simple, but true, point by the new CEO, Katsuaki Watanabe:
Management has to visit the shop floor and gain first-hand experience of what’s taking place. We need to look at the manufacturing processes, listen to voices, and clearly recognize problems.