A Brief Study on Toyota's Operation and Total Quality Management

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  • Topic: Lexus, Toyota, Super GT
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  • Published : July 30, 2009
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Operation and Total Quality Management
Question 1
The company I chose is Toyota Motor Corporation (Lexus).
(i) Goods and service design (product)
This operation management decision is about deciding what type of goods or service to provide to customers and also how to design these products and services to appeal to the targeted customers. Toyota Lexus has to come to a conclusion on the type of cars they should manufacture. For example, should the car be high end or affordable? They need to decide a focus point which is whether the brand Lexus should appeal to the normal working class or swinging bachelors or rich entrepreneurs. This important factor needs to be carefully pondered over as it will affect the rest of the production and the target marketing later on. The second important decision made was how Toyota designed the Lexus car. They considered the distinguishing feature of the brand and the manner in which they should apply to the design of the car. Since the price range of Lexus is generally higher; hence, the furnishing and engineering of Toyota should be more luxurious and of higher quality. For example, the Lexus IS is targeted toward richer consumers as it is designed as a compact executive car made to compete with the luxury sport sedans of other leading European brands. Quality

Toyota as an automobile manufacturer definitely has to have quality control, and it has to be objective, measured against an accepted standard. Toyota’s way of measuring quality is continuous improvement or in Japanese term, Kaizen. Toyota quality management is also tightly related to their Just-in-time system. As the focus is on Toyota Lexus, there is quality differentiation between Lexus and other brands. Lexus is a higher end range of Toyota cars and it is more expensive than other range of Toyota cars. The slogan of Lexus is ‘The Pursuit of Perfection’ and they have proven themselves to be true. For example the series Lexus IS cars has 15 quality gates and each quality gate covers around 20 production processes to ensure all parts are assembled correctly. The quality leader receives an online report or evaluation of each assembly process both the electronic input from tools and manual input from assembly workers. Hence, any deviation from the perfect assembly is monitored, discovered and adjusted before moving forward to the next step. After the assembly of parts and with quality as a focal point, stringent and extensive inspection is carried out to every Lexus IS. Not only the function but the visual aspect of the car is thoroughly inspected. The exterior component of the car actually has a gap management to reduce the gap between front bumper and wings to 0.35 millimeters. The four doors of the Lexus IS are also inspected. The engine of the car is also masked hiding away most components. This gives the Lexus IS a cleaner and sleeker appearance. Process and capacity design

The process that the Lexus IS needs is assembling of parts, detailed checks on product, finishing and advance technology is needed for computer simulation and crash tests. Even the finishing for Lexus requires as many as 42 separate steps that are executed with precision to ensure a lustrous and luminous finish. The safety test for Lexus is the strictest having obtain the Global Outstanding Assessment as every Lexus is tested against standards of developed countries like North America, Japan and Europe.

Sophisticated equipments and innovative technology are needed for the process and capacity design of Lexus. As the selling point of Lexus is its luxurious design and engineering so the design technology must match up to its image.

Location selection
Toyota has manufacturing facilities all over the world. Toyota worldwide operations have resulted in 52 overseas manufacturing companies in 27 regions outside Japan by the year 2006. However, the Lexus manufacturing facilities is only established in five places. There is one in Ontario, Canada and...
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