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Toyota System in Kentucky Plant

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Toyota System in Kentucky Plant

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  • March 2008
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The production of the new Camry model has introduced new challenges in the Toyota's Georgetown Plan such as higher labour costs, lost production due to below than projected utilization rates, growing number of inventory in the line, less output per hour, and problems to meet sales agreements at distributions channels. Even though the problem has been attributed to the seat, the management does not know where the source is. Given that at looking to meet the short-term demand production targets the management has deviated from its TPS philosophy, Toyota has lost the trace of the problem and now has the challenge to address it in order to revert this trend. After a throughout analysis, we found out the following aspects could have had a different degree of impact in today's outcome. The seat types were increased from 12 to 84 with a very short period of accommodation time for the supplier. A higher number of Andon Pulls were found in the second shift.

The main topic of the case was the problems caused by defective or damaged seats. TMM USA's seat problem was threefold. The first was the actual defects with the hooks and the damaged caused by cross threading by employees when installing the seats. This problem led to the second problem, which was the departure from the Toyota Production System (TPS) when dealing with the seat problem. Rather than fix the problem with the seat when it happened, they continued with the car's production and worried about the seat afterwards. And this led to the third problem, a build up of cars with seat problems.

As manager of assembly, Doug Friesen should address the problem by focusing on this exception and reasons for allowing such a deviation from Toyota Motors Manufacturing (TMM) normal way of handling problems. He should also look at the communication and synchronization between Kentucky Framed Seat (KFS), the seat supplier, and the plant. One issue that he should look at is why these cars were sitting in the overflow lot...

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