Here is a Detroit News column on Toyota's recent quality problems. It's always interesting to see how the Detroit papers write for what is mainly a Big 2 readership (white and blue collar both).
After some momentary gloating, some “bulletin board” material for the GM and Ford folks, the columnist writes:
“And if the general public and Toyota's boosters didn't spend so much energy hyping the myth of Toyota invincibility, which will be harder to propagate as the empire expands, the product line grows, the quality glitches mount and success breeds complacency.
Here's a news flash: Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe has basically conceded in two separate news conference in two months that the myth isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Which doesn't mean Toyota won't fix the problem, because it will. You can bet on that.”
Am I a “Toyota Booster?” Sure, you bet. I'm convinced that the Toyota system is superior to older “mass production” methods or most Western top-down command-and-control management ideas. Lean and TPS can apply in any factory, and especially can apply in healthcare settings.
But, I've never told anyone that Toyota is infallible. If anything, the scary part about Toyota's performance is about how they fix things, they eventually get it right. The first Toyota pickup design last lacking? They're figuring it out. They'll figure out how to grow quickly while maintaining quality.
We know Toyota is faillible. Why? Because Toyota's own leaders tell us so. It's GM and Ford leadership who are full of excuses.
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