Matt Hrivnak

Kaizen: There's always another future state

It’s frightening to see the negative media coverage afforded Toyota regarding the recall of their automobiiles due to the ‘sticking’ accelerator issue.  Without a doubt, you would not see such a political hit job done on GM or Chrysler now that they are owned by the government and a majority of the major media outlets are in lock-step with the White House.  If negative media coverage of Toyota helps sell more GMs and Chryslers, then you’ll see more of it – especially if a particular network is pining for an interview with the President.

One story I saw this morning about the recall said that Toyota must obviously not know how to correct the problem because they have stopped selling 8 models, etc.  The real story is that Toyota is doing what it does best, and that’s servicing the customer right.  They are practicing one of the key pillars of the Toyota Production System:  Jidoka.  Essentially, Jidoka comes down to recognizing a problem, stopping production before you create any more bad products, incorporating a proven solution and then restarting production.  On a micro level, this prevents bad product from being made AND from being passed onto the next station.

If this was another car manufacturer, they would still be making and selling their defective cars while trying to work on a solution.  Toyota, on the other hand, has decided that it will take responsibility now, service the problem and service its customers.  Sure, they could act like some of their competitors might and continue to sell the thousands of cars each day and then send letters saying ‘hey, your car has a recall, bring it in’, but they won’t, because they know the only people keeping then alive is their customers and they know they have a bigger responsibility to the community, and first and foremost reason as to why they won’t do that – because it’s not the Toyota Way!

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Comments (2) Posted by matt on Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

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