Suggested Changes in Culture of Toyota

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The culture of the Toyota Company

The CEO, Management and staff of Toyota, may I take this moment to make an analysis of the crisis that is facing us. In the recent past we have had the best out of our efforts; for example in 2009 despite the recession we managed to sell over 9 million vehicles far past what most of the other car manufacturer didn’t. We perceived the future in a manner that would sustain all staff hence we did not lay off employees like other firms like General Motors (Federley and Chase 359).

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This made people analysts and professionals from all over the world praise our philosophy of Total Quality Management and efficiency. As a result, our plant TPS (Toyota Production system) received much praise and recognition allover the world (Federley and Chase 362).

One of component of this system is Judoka; a production system that would go off incase of any trouble to avoid making faulty products. This system would there after display the cause of failure on giant screens allowing for the engineers to come to its attention to it. Our Just in time system allowed the availing of products just when they were required. We were able to achieve our goal of operating like a supermarket where we bought hat we required in the right quantities (Jenner et al 202). We were overwhelmed by the world’s perception of our cars as being of high quality and I think we got the best deals in the world.

Total quality barriers faced by Toyota an a result of its culture

However, no one thought that this phenomenon would be stopped by a 911 call from California from an accelerator jam where four people were killed. This may have been an engineering problem but we cannot perceive it to be so.

This is not only a brand threatening issue but it’s also a life threatening issue too. Our efforts to compensate the bereaved families may be a step in the right direction but lets ask ourselves what about the expenses that we shall incur in repairing of the over nine million vehicles. Most definitely this exercise will land us in loss zone again despite the exit from recession. We are also faced now with the option of closing some of our plant for example the North Carolina plant. What we have gained for the longest time in our history is almost being washed away in seconds.

My, seniors and fellow employees we have to do something. As one on our top management indicated ‘we have not lost our edge on quality’. It’s not that we cannot come out of this mess; in fact we are known to recover from such kind of issues through innovation. So I believe that our engineers are working at it and very soon we shall be in a position to recover fully (Federley and Chase 360). But there are some things that ought to be changed in the way we perceive our business. Yes, we ought to modify our culture. How do we do that?

Why these elements are barriers to total quality

First of all we have to go back to how we manage our work, we are a success story in total quality management and that is not a secret since even our rival General motors know that. They know that our system of working is part of the great success in our co-owned plant in South America, had they done on their own they would not reap as much benefit as we have (Laszlo, 285). However, this success story is acting against us. To be fair with you we are drenched in the story of success that we do not provide for possibilities of failure. We do not believe our customers when they say we are wrong. Yes this is what we ought to change (Jenner et al 195).

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The operation of total quality management is based on three factors, which include (Jablonski, 1997); continuous process improvement, participative management and utilization of teams. This is the basis on which we to achieve some of the critical factors of success brought about by operating the total quality management. An analysis of the culture reveals the loopholes that our company is failing on the three factors;

Participative management

The intention of this factor is to ensure that every one is involved in the management. While it has worked in our intentions to achieve some of our strategies like doing business like Supermarkets, this forum has some problems. The automation of the whole process may have reduced the role of design analysis and testing from the process of manufacturing (Ambroz 101). We have reduced the role of engineers from the participatory processing to one of responding to crisis. Believe that machines can do work in a more better way and more efficient way but will never at one time replace the human being.

Nine million car is such a big number of cars to be made by human being but human input should not be fully eliminated. The machines production should be subjected to some form of sampling (Jenner et al 211). For example after a period of time the engineers should be given a chance to test the operation of management (Butch and Rivers 367).

I am aware that the problem may not be necessarily the plant as the making of hybrid cars calls for the assembly of over ten thousand parts. The suppliers of all the equipment or the departments should be involved in solving of this crisis. They should propose the means of solving the crisis. Their participation should also include proposals of change the way braking systems are achieved.

Continuous improvement

For all this time we have embraced a culture of continuous improvement with an emphasis of making the ay we do things better. We have encouraged each employee to be in a position to propose a way he can perform the way better. However we have not been able to change on the way we anticipate problems. We have at most times failed in the ways that we detect problems. We have only been able to detect big problems while small problems like the case of braking systems have gone unidentified. Our efforts on research and efficiency are being brought about by such a small issue. We have to adopt a total quality management philosophy that will allow us to detect such small problems and change them long before we look for developments.

Utilization of teams

Its no secret that our culture in embedded in the way our teams perform their work that is why we moved a lot of our staff to the Asian market to introduce the Toyota way into the system(Ambroz 97). However, this phenomenon has come to work against us. The teams we form should be balanced to allow us to be in a position to full utilize the ability and competence available within the staff of the organization (Adler et al 418). This will mean that even in cases of acquisition of new production plants we shall move some employees and make sure what remains is a balance teas am in terms of the operation specialization, years of experience and perception of the duties that they perform(Adler et al 418 ). This balance ought to be ensured by top management.

Recommendations on improvement of the total quality system

We do not have to change our machines but a modification of our culture should be in a position to counter the problem at hand and make us top of the game. I propose the following recommendations to our culture in respect to the critical success factors of total quality management. When Demi came up with the idea of total quality management he proposed that the management should incorporate the following to ensure that they reap from investment in total quality management (Black and Porter 18);

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Top management commitment

In the operation of a total quality managed firm depends on each and every person within the company. However, the objective ratification depends on the top management and how ell the organization will perform also depends on the top management. The management ought to be committed toward the fulfillment of this motive. Recent denials and failure to acknowledge the problem arising from the operation revealed a lot concern about the management. The top management is under on obligation to be part of the process of management and part of this is accepting mistakes and taking responsibility (Adler et al 418).

The main reason for the media blast was the former denial by the company’s management, had they responded to the claims positively may be the media would have spared them the wrath. The management therefore ought to be trained or reminded of their role in public relations as well as response to failure claims (Butch and Rivers 368)

Customer focus

In the company recently celebrated the success of corolla philosophy. The philosophy’s success was based on customer satisfaction and anticipation of what they wanted. This does not seem to be the case when dealing with the Lexus brand Black and Porter 18). The customer’s complaints are always true. The intention of clients especially those who buy vehicles like Lexus are not to test performance, but prestige and class. Complaints from such customers should not be justified but the response to them should be adequate and positive. We may have managed to deal with the 2002 crisis of the mart and brakes but this time we shall not be in a position to escape. Innovations shall be made to ensure so as to satisfy the customer effectively not necessarily improve the system.

Quality culture

We have been acknowledged to as a firm that consistently produces quality products. The quality is what we have relied on to surpass our rival general motors despite their vast experience and presence within the market (Ambroz 95). However as it has been revealed our quality procedure needs some adjustment. It should go into more details like the components pert, involve the customer in testing and production and at the same time accept liability where that quality is found wanting.

Process management

We have time and again concentrated on the way we do our work. Improvement has been made from the way we do our work from time to time. However, this improvement should be based on the findings from the market. For example if our cars have been found wanting in terms of accelerators, and braking system, or concentration should be towards that area. This is because this problem had arisen earlier as early as 2002 but the crisis only proves that it was not handled adequately.

Employee involvement

The mode of operation of our total quality management philosophy should not be ignorant of the employee. Each and every employee should be adequately trained. The system should rely on training using a common module rather than transfer of some employees from one place to another to instill the culture of Toyota (Adler et al 418). This training should allow each and every employee to be involved in change as well as how they perceive the market (Adler et al 418). This training shall enable the customers appreciate the systems and at the same time promote the way they handle their work.

Customer satisfaction

We should look for way of testing our customers are satisfied even after calling back those vehicles when they are dispatched again we have an obligation of ensuring we ask those customers of any improvement that they would require Black and Porter 18).

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Conclusion

An analysis of this crisis reveals the loopholes in our culture but more to this how we can turn around this issue to success. Remember we are not faced by a challenge of loss of market share but we are provided with an opportunity to serve our customers better and improve that market even further (Laszlo 286).

Work cited

Adler Paul , Barbara Goldoftas, and David Levine, “Ergonomics, employee involvement, and the Toyota production system: A case study of NUMMI’s 1993 model introduction.” Industrial & Labor Relations Review 50.3: (1997):416-437.

Ambroz, Milan “Total quality system as a product of the empowered corporate culture.” The TQM Magazine16.2, (2004): 93-104.

Black, Saliense. And Porter Luther “Identification of critical factors of TQM.” Decision Sciences 27.1, (1996): 1-21.

Butch, Kennedy, and Rivers Duncan. “TQM: Role of leadership and culture.” J. Leadership and Organization Development 22. 8, (2001): 365-371.

Federley Mikael and Chase, George William “Applying total quality management to design and construction.” J. Management in Engineering 9.4, (1993):357-364.

Jenner Hebert and Appell Baack “Using quality management for cultural transformation of Chinese state enterprises: a case study.” Quality Management 3.2 (1998):193-210.

Laszlo Gergye “Implementing a quality management program-3 Cs of success: commitment, culture, cost.” The TQM Magazine, 10.4, (1998):281-287.

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