Toyota Seat Problem Case Summary

Causes of overload at the kentucky plant:overload as production for North Amercia and European markets was also being handled. line utilisation rate was below the projected target compensation for time lost over defective or no seats

URGENCY TO HANDLE THE SEAT PROBLEM:trying to solve the seat problem could hurt the line utilisation

BACKGROUND:Japan wanted to set up a plant in North America due to mounting political pressure and rapidly rising yen. However, the plant set up in Kentucky by Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in 1985 proved to be a hindrance. So there was a big challenge faced by Japan to set up shop in AMerica.

In 1988, Toyota Motor Manufacturing set up shop in Georgetown to increase volume to counter theimports of cars from Japan and sold the cars at cheaper prices. The car captured market shares.

Toyota strivemaking quality cars at affordable prices for a diverse range of customers.

Toyota Production System:Aimed at cost reduction by eliminating waste.Factors explaining why waste reduces productivity and quality.

Identification of factors caussing waste:JIT & jidoka

jidoka – necessitated standardisation of the processImportance of a good workforcekaizen – change for the better

Georgetown Ramp up:Simulate model in JapanGet people from Japan who knew the process and how to handle the situations.


Assembly:line cycle time ?provision to demarcate various items in the assembly line so that everything was clearly visible. Also, precautions were taken so that if ‘x’ amount was not completed in the stipulated time the andoncord was pulled which gathered the attention of the team leader.

Production control:its duty is to provide the right parts to TMM at the right time so that the right cars can be produced. heijunka – facilitated JIT – evenedd out productionkanban – facilitated JIT – signalled manufacture of part to the supplier

Quality Control:work in sync with the assemble team.if problems are seen with 8 cars at a time, stop the production process. works like andon cord for managers

Purchasing:manage costswork with low cost and not low price suppliers

THE SEAT:Seat important to QC, production, purchase

The Supplier:Coordination between the supplier and TMM was noteworthyAlso, the proximity between the two helpedSupplier produced and fixed the seat unlike other traditional suppliers Supplier adopted TMC philosophy

SIGNS OF PROBLEMS:Kentucky became the only producer of the new Camry in the world Also different cars came in different variants and different styles of seats