Toyota Motor Manufacturing Usa - Seat Problem

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1. As Doug Friesen, what would you do to address the seat problem? Where would you focus your attention and solution efforts? Why? The two major causes of seat defects originate with KFS, relating to material flaws and missing parts. The seat bolster issue is a distant third. As KFS is the responsible party the situation needs to be addressed at their site. Using the traditional TMC first principle of ‘let’s go see it’ and then converge on the Five Why’s, Doug should visit KFS and inspect the manufacturing and QC process. By focusing on uncovering issues at the source of the seats, it is likely there will be fewer problems at the TMM plant. The focus on QC at KFS could potentially eliminate 113 of the 138 problems reported between 14-30 April, 1992. In the short term, address the immediate issue of the backlog by reconciling orders with KFS to ensure the backlog is cleared. This would require little resource and be a quick win.

2. What options exist? What would you recommend? Why?
Simplifying the seats could reduce the problem since product proliferation appears to added complexity to KFS manufacturing process, though it’s unlikely that the designers will take this feedback as welcome given similar issues are not faced at the Japanese plant. Redesigning the seat or replacing easily broken parts could reduce breakage and installation issues, while training the staff to be more careful with installation, or the KFS staff with assembly, may also be an option. Replacing the supplier would be a high-risk option that would only be explored if the issues at KFS were so irreversible that TMM had no other choice. While all of these options may potentially address part of the issue, improving the QC process and then working backwards from there into the assembly and manufacture at KFS will ultimately have the greatest single impact on production efficiency.

3. Where, if at all, does the current routine for handling defective seats deviate from the...
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