Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A., Inc

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Problem Identification
Doug Friesen, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, U.S.A. (TMM)’s manager of assembly, has an urgent issue on hand. His focus on current production and on manufacturing the needed quota for suppliers has led to deviation from Toyota Production System (TPS)’s core competency of lean manufacturing. Because Friesen holds an important position as manager of assembly, this deviation has trickled down to his employees and possibly even their suppliers. He must now work to quickly resolve the issues “The Toyota Way” before the very culture that gives TMM their competitive advantage is compromised. Analysis

Friesen’s decision to make an exception to the rule of stopping the production line when 8 cars were in the clinic was made based on an emphasis to achieve immediate goals needed to meet customer demands. Had TPS principles been followed, a “Code 1” would have stopped the line while countermeasures were discussed. Fraizen’s decision was contrary to TMM’s jidoka principle requiring any production problems to be visible and corrected immediately. The principle of jidoka is implemented via human capital. This is apparent in TMM’s culture of problem solving and focus on the philosophy of TPS (emphasizing long-term decisions and de-emphasizing short-term consequences). Leaders who live out this philosophy of problem solving are key to its success. Without the commitment of top management and leadership to total quality management practices such as jidoka, they will fail. This is already beginning to happen at TMM. The assembly line workers are not viewing the defective seats as a problem. Thus, they are not asking, “why?” and are not motivated to determine the true cause of the problem or to fix it. Moving the cars to the overflow lot has eliminated the involvement and teamwork of the assembly line. Furthermore, time has been allowed to pass, compounding the problem. The cause of the problem is still undetected. Although the time taken to get...
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