1. As Doug Friesen, what would you do to address the seat problem? Where would you focus your attention and solution efforts? Why? Answer: Address the problem:
Doug needs to bring together his production team leaders to discuss the issue and gather input as to their thoughts on the root cause. He needs to assign a team leader to solely take on this problem as his sole responsibility until it is resolved. Firstly a route cause analysis needs to be undertaken.
Whether this is via a fish bone 5Y analysis or a Failure mode analysis etc doesn’t really matter as long as the most plausible root cause is determined. To undertake this analysis usually the quality team puts up a sub committee to work on this project. Once all plausible root causes are identified, then a weighting system is applied to each cause to determine the opportunity to solve the root causes with all associated costs captured. Focus & Solutions:
I would focus the attention firstly at the seat manufacturer (KFS). Clearly before the Camry model change there were not the quality issues that are evident now with the extra proliferation (including export). Discussions need to be had with the KFS management team and get them involved with the 5Y solution process. Secondly, Doug needs to go back to TMC in Japan and determine whether they really do have issues with the hook design. From my experience dealing with automotive OEM’s they tend to hide their issues!
Finally, from the 5Y analysis it may be determined that the TMM seat team in Kentucky maybe (mistakenly) damaging the seats (hinted in the case) when fitting them. This may require a process design change to the fitment process.
Again, the focus for this issue will be determine via the root cause analysis and this will then create the expected solution process.
2. What options exist? What would you recommend? Why? Answer:
The options were discussed above in question 1, however to follow on from question 1, I would suggest that the following options are as follows:
a) Complete 5Y analysis to determine all possible root causes for quality issues? a. Possible causes: i. Poor hook design ii. Complications with increases in proliferation iii. Lack of input from seat supplier with increase in proliferation iv. Is tack time acceptable for seat installation (now that proliferation has increased) v. Identify why bolsters are being damaged
Until the 5Y analysis is conducted the solutions cannot be defined. Refer to question 1 for further info.
3. Where, if at all, does the current routine for handling defective seats deviate from the principles of the Toyota Production System? Answer The seat problem is currently not fixed through the standard TPS system via the Jidoka principle. The modified defective seat routine was made an exception to the standard practice of investigating problems on the line, even at the expense of shutting down the line, for three reasons, first, the final assembly people already knew of the problem; second, it was possible to finish building the car without seat assemblies; third, it was felt that stopping the line was too expensive given how long it took to obtain the replacement seat.
4. What is the real problem facing Doug Friesen?
I think the real problem is TMM still trying to adjust to the Japanese TPS system. The TPS system took decades for Toyota to implement properly with many refinements over the years. In Japan, both the OEM and the Tier One are considered as part of the same family. This culture is foreign in the United States (as well as Australia). TMC has high demands on the TMM Kentucky team with high rates of finished product. I believe the extra proliferation undertaken because of the export program has caused the issues facing Doug Friesen!