Toyota Motor Manufacturing Summary

Toyota Motor Manufacturing, USA, Inc Case Analysis * Main and sub ideas of the case. The main topic of the case was the problems caused by defective or damaged seats. TMM USA’s seat problem was threefold. The first was the actual defects with the hooks and the damaged caused by cross threading by employees when installing the seats.

This problem led to the second problem, which was the departure from the Toyota Production System (TPS) when dealing with the seat problem. Rather than fix the problem with the seat when it happened, they continued with the car’s production and worried about the seat afterwards. And this led to the third problem, a build up of cars with seat . required to maintain production numbers. Ø What is the real problem facing Doug Friesen? The real problem facing Mr. Friesen is the fact that cars with seat problems are sitting in the overflow lot way too long, which means that the run ratio had dropped from 95% to 85%.

Thus there appears to be a problem with the handling of cars through the off-line process. Mr. Friesen needs to determine whether the cause of increase in the number of cars sitting in the overflow lot is caused by the process used for defective and damaged seats, the overall off-line process, or the supplier’s ability to meet TMM USA needs Toyota Motor Manufacturing USA, Inc. (TMM) encountered product proliferation problems with defective seats due mainly to the company’s deviation from its normal production plan and lack of a recovery system.

In April 1992, TMM’s run ratio dropped from 95% to 85%, meaning that 45 less cars were being produced per shift, which in turn translated into overtime for the workers. As a result, too many cars needed off-line operations of one type or another before they could go on to shipping.

The main source of the problem was the seats defects in the cars, in which case the car would go through the assembly line with the defective seat still in it. Then the car would proceed to the Code 1 clinic area where workers would try to fix the defects, or it would be moved to the overflow parking area to await a new seat to be delivered from the supplier. This process is an exception to the quality control process in TMM.

According to Exhibit 10, in April 1992 the number of andon pulls during the first shift for the rear seat increased dramatically, from about 20 pulls in the beginning of April to about 120 pulls at the end of the month; pulls for the second shift also increased greatly.

It should be noted that the seat itself poses s Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A. (TMM) is deviating from the standard assembly line principle of jidoka in an attempt to avoid expenses incurred from stopping the production line for seat quality defects. This deviation has contributed to the inability to identify the root cause of the problem, which has led to decreased run ratios on the line and an excess of defective automobiles in the overflow lot for multiple days. If this problem isn’t fixed quickly, an increased amount of waste will continue to be incurred and customer value will be threatened. Analysis:

Friesen is truly struggling to find a way to “have his cake and eat it too”. Friesen is passionate about TPS ways of achieving lean manufacturing by staying focused on achieving cost reduction by thoroughly eliminating waste. He knows that just in time (JIT) production is implemented to insure plants produce only what is needed, only how much is needed, and only when it is needed.

He has been thoroughly trained in jidoka principles, understanding processes are put in place to make any production problems instantly self-evident through visual deviations from normal conditions. He also understands the value of the andon pull, and that it states the andon card is not replaced until the problem is fixed – often resulting in a stop of the line.

However, he felt this problem was different, and therefore an alternate process was acceptable. He believed it was possible to deviate from some of the core jidoda principles by fixing the quality problem off the production line, and within the quality control (QC) team. He believed this would allow him to save money by not having idle machines. Even after all the alarming red flags in front of him that indicate this deviation might not be working, Friesen still wonders if the problem can be fixed off the line.