Recalls at Toyota and Sony

Recalls by Toyota and Sony shock Japan’s pride [the broken link was removed]: another article discussing the recent recalls at Toyota and Sony.

Some have also begun to blame the decline on recent American-style management changes, like performance-based pay, the end of traditional lifetime job guarantees and increased use of temporary workers in order to cut costs.

I don’t actually think this is right in Toyota’s case anyway; Toyota seems to have resisted adopting poor management practices form the west (an IT example – see the end of the post). They just need to keep trying to do better. It is very easy for management to lose its way, wherever the compnay is located.

For a time, American and European executives flocked here to learn Japanese quality-control concepts like “kaizen,” or improvement.

I like this quote, especially given our post yesterday on Mike Wroblewski’s current visit to Japan to learn about manufacturing management practices. I think there is a great deal for anyone to learn today from such visits. Yes, Toyota needs to do better but that doesn’t mean others don’t have a great deal to learn from them.

related: performance without appraisalNew Toyota CEO’s ViewsExcessive Executive PayMore Asian Firms Adopt Western Management Theory

The recalls by Sony and Toyota have received intense attention in the Japanese news media. Defects have become a top topic on radio talk shows, and the biggest business daily, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun, started a front- page investigative series last week called “Can Japan Protect Quality?”

Hiroshi Okuda, the retired chairman of Toyota and elder statesman of Japan’s business world, called on his countrymen to do more about the declining competitiveness of Japanese manufacturing.


Twice last month, Toshihiro Nikai, trade minister of Japan, wrote to Sony, the electronics company, ordering it to report on quality-control improvements

“This is very rare,” said Atsuo Hirai, assistant chief at the Trade Ministry’s information product safety section.

Rarer still was that the Transport Ministry issued similar orders a few weeks earlier to Toyota, another paragon of Japanese quality marred by recent recalls.

2 thoughts on “Recalls at Toyota and Sony

  1. Pingback: Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Japan Project X: Innovators Documentaries

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