What Really Happened At Toyota? Business Thought Leaders Segment

Posted on June 22, 2010


Could better intelligence have prevented the massive recall woes of the once revered Toyota Supply Chain?  According to one industry analyst, “better analytics tools, including software-as-a-service products, could help Toyota and other companies crunch the numbers,” and thereby avoid the problems which led to a massive recall due to safety concerns with acceleration.

There are of course many theories on what actually transpired with regard to the recent Toyota recall, as well as what could have prevented the accelerator problem from occurring in the first place.

One of the most interesting was offered by Joe Barkai, practice director at marketing intelligence and advisory firm IDC.

Specifically, Barkai’s suggestion that Toyota could have fallen victim to its own design in process in that they “may have been too efficient for the company’s own good.”  Citing the similarity of design across its product line, in which the company uses the same parts and the same suppliers, Barkai pointed out the fact that a single part failure has the potential to have a broader impact across all models.

The fact that even a minor parts-related issue could easily affect millions of cars at once brings to mind the proverbial rhyme “For Want of a Nail” which illustrates that small actions can result in large consequences.

For Toyota, this then may actually be a case of deja vu. Referencing a July 20th, 2007 Wall Street Journal article titled “A Key Strategy of Japan’s Car Makers Backfires,” the shortage of a piston ring costing a mere $1.50 temporarily paralyzed 70 percent of Japan’s auto production for one week.

Shouldn’t Toyota have learned something from this earlier experience?

Joining me on Thursday, June 24th at 12:30 PM EST to talk about Toyota is Six Sigma Lean expert author Forrest Breyfogle III, from whom we will learn more about the chain of events that led to the current problems, as well as what needs to be done to prevent a similar incident in the future.

Forrest will join our growing list of experts on the PI Window on Business Show’s Business Thought Leaders Series.

Forrest Breyfogle III, Smarter Solutions

Forrest Breyfogle III, Smarter Solutions

About Forrest:

Forrest Brefogle III, is a Professional Engineer and ASQ Fellow who founded Smarter Solutions in 1992.  Considered to be a thought leader in the area of Integrated Enterprise Excellence, the author of the IEE series of books is also a recognized figure on the international speaking service.

The honored recipient of the distinguished 2004 Crosby Medal from the American Society for Quality for his book Implementing Six Sigma (second edition) Breyfogle also serves on the Board of Advisors for the University of Texas Center for Performance Excellence.

The author and/or co-author of eleven books in total, as well as more than 100 published technical articles, Mr. Breyfogle is a returning guest to the PI Window on Business.

Remember to use the following link to access both the live and on-demand broadcast “What Really Happened At Toyota? Business Thought Leaders Segment” on Thursday, June 24th at 12:30 PM EST on the PI Window on Business Show on Blog Talk Radio.