Previously we posted on recalls at Toyota and Sony. Recently Toyota announced another large recall. Investor’s Business Daily writes on the topic in: The Ups And Downs Of Doing Product Recalls – Japan-Style [the broken link was removed]:
Interesting. The article also discusses a commitment to zero-defects. I agree with Dr. Deming that this is not the right strategy, but Toyota’s actions around that concept seem reasonable. Many other companies actions around a “zero-defect effort” are not effective in my opinion. See our previous post reacting to Norman Bodek’s post on zero defects. Toyota is doing well but as they say themselves, over and over: Toyota still has plenty of room to improve. The key is to not only say so, but act on it (which I believe they are doing, the recalls give one indication of the continued need to improve).
The bottom line, in my opinion? You must improve the system to improve the value to the customer (which includes reducing defects). And you must continually monitor your systems and react when you discover weaknesses (or find new ways to improve the system through PDSA).