Toyota Re-Introduces Quality By Committee

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
toyota re introduces quality by committee

In that Wolfsburg car factory I had the honor to work for for more than 30 years, one of the many pearls of wisdom was: “Wenn man nicht mehr weiter weiss, gründet man nen Arbeitskreis.” If you are totally out of options, establish a committee.

Toyota seems to have taken that Teutonic haiku to heart. The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor “has formed an expert panel, chaired by President Akio Toyoda, to analyze the potential risks throughout its global production and sales networks.”

As far as committees go, lean it won’t be. It will be a monster of a committee: “The president will be joined by executives ranked senior managing director and higher,” The Nikkei writes. ”The committee’s composition will change depending on the type and locality of a particular problem, and input from lawyers and consultants will be sought as warranted.”

For added redundancy, Toyota established a second committee. This one is tasked with “global quality.” According to Nikkei’s report, this one “will monitor quality issues concerning design, production and service, enabling the carmaker to quickly determine the need for recalls and voluntary repairs.”

Toyota must have read TTAC’s report a few days ago that bemoaned the loss of top-level quality-focused meetings shortly after Akio Toyoda took over early last year. While we have Toyota’s ear, let’s recommend one of VW’s better inventions, the “Schadenstisch” (damage table). In that circle, a failing part was literally put on a table, surrounded by a team of experts from various departments. At the end of the (often heated) discussion, someone had to take the part off the table. He and his department were then responsible for fixing the problem.

Toyota can pick up the idea without being blamed for copying: When Piech took over in 1993, he tried to introduce Toyota’s “kaizen” to VW. He failed. “Kaizen” was renamed “kontinuierlicher Verbesserungsprozess,” and was then quickly forgotten.

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  • 210delray 210delray on Feb 13, 2010

    "Swap team?" I think you meant "SWAT team."

  • Namstrap Namstrap on Feb 14, 2010

    The last thing needed is endless meetings by overpaid executives who don't have a clue about what the public actually want and need. Take the suits off, get down on the factory floor with the other people who work there, and figure stuff out. We make, sell, and service cars. Period. We don't have to play all those stupid sales games anymore. I was hoping the loud suits, ties, white belts and shoes, big cigars, would be gone a long time ago. A product should sell on its own merits, not on what it's pretended or advertised to be. end rant

  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.