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Welcome to my blog for all things related to business quality (processes, systems and ways of working), products and product quality, manufacturing and operations management.

This blog is a mixture of real-world experience, ideas, comments and observations that I hope you'll find interesting.

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February 2010
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Toyota – how the mighty fall

I’m not going to join the ‘let’s knock Toyota’ brigade, don’t worry. Enough people are filling that role already. In fact, I drive a Toyota (an older model) and I’ve been very happy with it, and one of my clients has got one too and is equally happy.

My point is how easy it is to go off the rails.

Those of us who work in Quality are only too aware of the huge reputation that TPS – the Toyota Production System – enjoys. It is taught in colleges and universities and vocational training institutes world-wide and is usually seen as the gold standard of ‘how to do manufacturing properly’.

But gosh how they have messed up with sticking accelerators and dodgy Prius brakes. The company that is so good at taking Preventive Action suddenly has some major Corrective Action problems and a PR disaster on its hands.

So here’s the question:

Do you have the equivalent of Toyota’s sticking accelerators and bad brake profiles lurking in your design or production areas? How do you know? What can you do to reduce the risk of a similar nasty surprise hitting your production?

If Toyota, with its world-class manufacturing and quality, can have these sorts of problems, can’t we all?

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