All students will use this week’s case study for this discussion thread. Each student is to start their discussion by determining what issues should be addressed to address the quality problems on the production line.
In addition, each student is to respond to at least two other students’ discussion threads by listing at least two viable recommendations that will solve the issues identified, as well as furthering the discussion or presenting an alternative view.
Managing quality helps build successful strategies of differentiation, low cost, and response. A successful quality strategy begins with an organizational culture that fosters quality, followed by an understanding of quality principles, and then engages employees in the necessary activities to implement quality. When these things are done well, the organization typically satisfies its customers and obtains a competitive advantage (Haizer et al., 2020). Toyota achieved success because of its exceptional reputation for intact high-quality goods at an affordable price and perfect timing. The lack of adherence to the Toyota Production System (TPS) philosophy, deviation from jidoka & kaizen principles ((Mishina & Takeda, 1995), the defective seats from KFS were the main issues that TMM was facing, and it was causing a bottleneck at the Final one and Final two manufacturing lines. To address all of the issues mentioned above, TMM could implement various strategies such as Just In Time production (JIT), quality control inspectors when receiving the car seats from KFS, as well as at the supplier’s plant. Toyota can also invest in Six Sigma certification for their plant managers. Pareto Charts could be beneficial to highlight the seat defects and find a solution.
Heizer, J., Render, B. (2017). Operations Management (12th ed.), Chapter 6. Pearson: Prentice-Hall.
Davis, N. (2017). Lesson 10 Managing Quality [PowerPoint]. Retrieved from: DESC 475 Course Resources Folder
Mishina, K. (1992). Toyota Motors Manufacturing, USA, Inc. Case. No. NTU001-PDFENG. Boston, MA. Harvard Business Publishing.
Gemba Academy. (2010, September 25). 7 Quality Tools [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdhC4ziAhgY&feature=youtu.be
With Toyota, the posed questions involved PC & QC, whose roles include fighting fires to solve quality and delivery problems and working on new solutions. What happens, though, is the design process itself didn’t consider the impact on the TPS, in my opinion. The system is set up to say, here is what we want and going to do, now come up with a way to make it happen,” with a flawless approach to quality and efficiency. The manufacturing process comprised two main guiding elements from Just-in-time production and judoka, focusing on quality at the source before the product is delivered to customers. But more importantly, the Toyota Production System was meant to continually challenge and look for quality issues and stop production from fixing before moving the process along. I see the problem with the seats being identified but pushed to the end and sent to code one, off-line, to be addressed.
Starting with the end problem on defective seats, one must wonder what was going on with the seats in the first place. Exhibit seven shows the issue with the seats had been going on for over six months, with five primary points identified (Mishina, 1995, pg. 17). The company was only under its projected goal in Oct. ’91 for a short period, then accelerated until Feb/Mar ’92, when defects were actually under goal. So, for most of that period, seat quality issues regarding defects impacted quality standards. Looking at the Taguchi concepts, “most quality problems result from poor product and process design” (Heizer, 2020, pg. 255). In again reviewing the appendices in the Toyota Case Study, exhibit 10 scatter chart shows that both the first and second shifts had issues with the rear seats from both a left-hand and right-hand side installation process (Mishina, 1995, pg.20). Since the first shift showed an even higher number of pulls identifying problems, the probability could be to the newer staff but likely not since the installation impacted both changes. There was another issue at hand, not a correlation to the shift and number of pulls. Exhibit 8 showed that the two most prominent occurrences were missing parts and material flaws flowing back to the supplier KFS (Mishina,1995, pg. 18). Also, when reviewing the same document, the benchmark line of 5/defects a day was being pushed well outside acceptable levels and all falling on KFS as the responsible party.
The changes in the new wagon seem to have pushed limits with the only supplier leaving them in a situation to explore the design flaw issue. Further, one of the lead teams shared continually gets broken due to the change from metal to plastic. Exhibit 11 showcases ‘the hook’ that Shirley Sargent shared with Friesen identified last fall and shared with the engineering team (Mishina, 1995, pg. 21). No change was implemented due to the noted $50,000 in additional costs that would occur, and the reduction in breakage had been lowered. But Sargent stated that while she had a new team at the beginning of the month, the errors started accelerating by midmonth. So, there could be a combination of design flaws and human installation errors, both contributing to the problems of increasing cars in the off-load area and delivery delays but likely the latter.
Recommendations would be to review the cost of the production delays with the missed delivery costs and then multiply that by the percentage of error ratio. That would give an annual picture of the problem and likely outweigh the $50k investment to fix the design error. Secondly, the company should work with their current supplier to develop a solution since both companies have practiced the TPS design process and have worked well together until the new model added new constraints to the KFS system. I also like the idea of Quality Control teams working in each other facilities to watch production, then installation, and see if additional arguments can be flushed out to help the production and design process get back to manageable levels of defects. Pushing the problem until after total production is completed is not in keeping is only adds to the issues. The practice of jiduka, “making any production problems instantly self-evident and stopping production whenever problems are detected,” was happening with andon pulls yet not to the point of genuinely working towards a solution (Mishina, 1995, pg. 2). Ultimately the TPS highlighted problems so people could see them yet wasn’t isolating the “problems from people and thereby enabling people to focus on solving problems” (Mishina, 1995, pg. 4).
Heizer, J. H., Render, B., & Munson, C. (2020). Operation management (13th ed.). Pearson Education Limited.
Mishina, Kazuhiro. “Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc. Harvard Business School Case 9-693-019,
September 1992. (Revised September 1995).