Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc.

I. Andon Procedure

Andon cord is a rope running along the assembly line over the work area. Whenever a team member did not complete 70% of work required, or found any other other problem, the andon cord is pulled and a flashing light will be turned on, triggering loud music, and lit up the work station’s “address number” on the andon board. Team leader will then rush to the station to check the problem. Andon will remain on till issue can be resolved.

Fundamental aspects:

Prevention of similar problems

The Andon procedure allows the workers to gain deeper insights through the “five-whys exercise”. The workers, with better understanding, are able to come up with countermeasures to prevent such problems to arise again.

(requirement to ask for help at once is that it is often counterintuitive to managers who are accustomed to encouraging workers to try to resolve problems on their own before calling for help. But problems remained hidden and are neither shared nor resolved company wide – just like in the case of the defective seats problems. Problems mount up and only get solved much later.)

“Good thinking” employees

Having asked “why”, the employees are expected to look for the solution to the problem identified. In this way, every team member can focus on enhancing quality level in the production. By doing so, the managers are able to work with his subordinates closely and facilitate learning. Hence, with good thinking employees, Toyota is able to produce quality products with constantly improvised methods and gain a greater competitive edge in the industry. (Stimulates workers and managers to engage in the kind of experimentation that is widely recognised as the cornerstone of a learning organization)

(Use a teaching and learning approach that allows their workers to discover the rules as a consequence of solving problems) (able and willing to engage in a similar process of questioning to facilitate learning by doing)

Develop effective leadership

Leaders play a big role in the Andon procedure. Leaders are not expected only to supervise, but also to take the lead to and encourage discussion among the workers. The Andon procedure not only develops the workers, but also the leaders.

Benefits of stopping production (insert diagram)

Eliminate potential waste

- By stopping the line, all the workers in the assembly work to find a solution. As these people of different expertise work together, they can find the solution more quickly.

- prevent further producing potential waste and products which need to be reworked

Prevent defective product from reaching consumers

- Incur higher costs (loss of reputation) if defective products esp in this case – car – important to have tip top quality

II. Underlying causes of the problem

Product proliferation – too many variations, slows down operations, increase in overall labour cost to “make things right” unable to meet demand, reduce profit. Slow replacement -> overflow parking area, higher holding cost.

III. Current routine vs principles

|Routine for seat problem |Principles of the Toyota Production System | |Don’t tackle problem immediately |Tackle problem immediately | |Problems not fixed, rework needed aft replacement needed |Do it right the first time | |Line don’t stop |Line will stop | |No well defined sequence of steps - deviated work |Well-defined sequence of steps | |Andon cord pulled to acknowledge a defective seat installed into the|Andon cord pulled to show that they have already came up with | |car |countermeasure. |

Current routine for defected seats – seats are fixed to the car, goes to the overflow parking area.

TPS principle – top quality products by doing it right the first time, by stopping the line

The line was not stopped as it was deemed as too costly especially when the replacement of the seat took a long time. Also, TPS continued to process the cars with the seating problems which, however, would increase the inventory.

IV. Addressing the seat problem

(Must know how to change and who is responsible for making the changes)

- Come up with a highly specified manual for fixing the car seat (QUALITY MGMT)

o Variations translates into poorer quality, lower productivity, and higher costs

- Check the quality of all seats before accepting from the supplier

- Discuss with KFS regarding the quality of the seats – how to make improvements

o To have inventory for this only, instead of JIT

- Look for other suppliers

- Bring assembly of seats in-house

- Reduce product proliferation