SEU Toyota Quality Management and Total Quality Principles Discussion

Week 9: Interactive activity

9.1 Learning Outcomes:

Recognize the importance of quality management theory, principles, and practices

applied in businesses on national and international levels.

State the importance of standardization and quality standards.

9.2 Action Required: (Read)

Quality in Practice: Toyota Motor Corporation, Ltd.

The Toyota brand name has earned an international reputation for quality. The roots of Toyota Motor Corporation, founded in 1937, stem from the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. Sakichi Toyoda invented a loom with an automatic stopping function; whenever a thread broke or the machine ran out of thread, it stopped automatically. This approach was built into automotive assembly lines to improve quality and productivity and led to the development of the “Toyota Production System,” which has commonly become known as lean production. A significant feature of lean production is the practice of continuous improvement by every worker, demanding the questioning of every process and testing of all assumptions. Errors and defects are viewed as learning opportunities to remove waste and improve efficiency. In 1951, Eiji Toyoda instituted a system of creative suggestions based on the motto “Good Thinking, Good Products,” which is prominently displayed in every production facility. One example is the Rakuraku seat, a comfortable work chair mounted on the tip of an arm that allows a line worker to easily get into and out of cramped car-body interiors. In 2000, more than 650,000 suggestions were submitted—almost 12 per employee—and 99 percent were adopted. At Toyota, everybody helps whenever they can. Even top and middle managers are well known for getting their “hands dirty” by helping workers on the production line when necessary.

Toyota uses games, competitions, and cultural events to promote its 3 C’s: creativity, challenge, and courage. It trains workers extensively, not only in job skills, but also in personal development that focuses on positive attitudes and a sense of responsibility. Toyota’s education system includes formal education, on-the-job training, and informal education.

Toyota is implementing a direct monitoring system that supports quality. For example, its

French plant is connected by a broadband system to the head office, enabling it to transmit video, audio, and facility performance data. Engineers in Japan can monitor the data of the plant’s operation in real time, check machinery utilization rates, diagnose malfunctions, and provide ideas for improvement. Information technology and e-commerce are also used to expand relationships with suppliers and customers. For example, customers may request quotes and gather information that previously was only available to dealers.

Shotaro Kamiya, first president of Toyota Motor Sales, stated, “The priority in receiving

benefits from automobile sales should be in the order of the customer, then the car dealer, and

lastly the maker. This attitude is the best approach in winning the trust of customers and dealers and ultimately brings growth to the manufacturer.” The guiding principles of Toyota are as follows:

1. Honor the language and spirit of the law of every nation and undertake open and fair

corporate activities to be a good corporate citizen of the world.

2. Respect the culture and customs of every nation and contribute to economic and social

development through corporate activities in the communities.

3. Dedicate ourselves to providing clean and safe products and to enhancing the quality of

life everywhere through all our activities.

4. Create and develop advanced technologies and provide outstanding products and services

that fulfill the needs of customers worldwide.

5. Foster a corporate culture that enhances individual creativity and teamwork value, while

honoring mutual trust and respect between labor and management.

6. Pursue growth in harmony with the global community through innovative management.

7. Work with business partners in research and creation to achieve stable, long-term growth

and mutual benefits, while keeping ourselves open to new partnerships.

Toyota has approximately 40 production facilities in more than 20 countries and regions

outside Japan. When Toyota began expanding outside of Japan, many believed that the culture could not be copied or applied to foreign cultures, especially in the United States. With a focus of incorporating the best elements of Japanese and local traditions, while avoiding the weaknesses of both, Toyota as proven that its approaches and culture can work everywhere.

One popular phrase at Toyota is “change or die.” The company continually seeks to redefine itself to adapt to changes in society and the business environment. Toyota’s recent vision is captured by the phrase harmonious growth—a harmony between man, society, and the environment.

We wish to make Toyota not only strong but a universally admired company, winning the

trust and respect of the world. We must be a company that is accepted wholeheartedly by

people around the world, who would think it natural if Toyota became No. 1 in size, since

we provide attractive products that excel in environmental protection and in safety and

thus contribute immensely to local communities. That is the goal of “Harmonious

Growth” and what I regard as corporate virtue. – Hiroshi Okuda, Chairman

9.3 Test your Knowledge (Question):

1. What do Toyota’s guiding principles mean for its management system? In particular, how

do they reflect the principles of total quality?

2. Many health care organizations have learned from manufacturing companies in their

quality journey. What can nonmanufacturing companies learn and apply from Toyota’s

philosophy and practices? Suggest specific things that education and government might learn. 



 MGT 424 

Week 10. 

10.1 Learning Outcomes:

Recognize the importance of quality management theory, principles, and practices

applied in businesses on national and international levels.

State the importance of standardization and quality standards.

10.2 Action Required: (Read)

Case: The Nightmare on Telecom Street

H. James Harrington, a noted quality consultant, related the following story in Quality Digest


I called to make a flight reservation just an hour ago. The telephone rang five times before a recorded voice answered. “Thank you for calling ABC Travel Services,” it said. “To ensure the highest level of customer service, this call may be recorded for future analysis.” Next, I was asked to select from one of the following three choices: “If the trip is related to company business, press 1. Personal business, press 2. Group travel, press 3.” I pressed 1. I was then asked to select from the following four choices: “If this is a trip within the United States, press 1. International, press 2. Scheduled training, press 3. Related to a

conference, press 4.” Because I was going to Canada, I pressed 2. Now two minutes into my telephone call, I was instructed to be sure that I had my customer identification card available.

A few seconds passed and a very sweet voice came on, saying, “All international operators are busy, but please hold because you are a very important customer.” The voice was then replaced by music. About two minutes later, another recorded message said, “Our operators are still busy, but please hold and the first available operator will take care of you.” More music. Then yet another message: “Our operators are still busy, but please hold. Your business is important to us.” More bad music. Finally the sweet voice returned, stating, “To speed up your service, enter your 19-digit customer service number.” I frantically searched for their card, hoping that I could find it before I was cut off. I was lucky; I found it and entered the number in time. The same sweet voice came back to me, saying, “To confirm your customer service number, enter the last four digits of your social security number.”

I pushed the four numbers on the keypad. The voice said: “Thank you. An operator will be with you shortly. If your call is an emergency, you can call 1-800-CAL-HELP, or push all of the buttons on the telephone at the same time. Otherwise, please hold, as you are a very important customer.” This time, in place of music, I heard a commercial about the service that the company provides. At last, a real person answered the telephone and asked, “Can I help you?” I replied, “Yes, oh yes.” He answered, “Please give me your 19-digit customer service number, followed by the last four digits of your social security number so I can verify who you are.” (I thought I gave these numbers in the first place to speed up service. Why do I have to rattle them off again?) I was now convinced that he would call me Mr. 5523-3675-0714-1313-040. But, to my surprise, he said: “Yes, Mr. Harrington. Where do you want to go and when?” I explained that I wanted to go to Montreal the following Monday morning. He replied: “I only handle domestic reservations. Our international desk has a new telephone number: 1-800-1WE-GOTU. I’ll transfer you.” A few clicks later a message came on, saying: “All of our international operators are busy. Please hold and your call will be answered in the order it was received. Do not hang up or redial, as it will only delay our response to your call. Please continue to hold, as your business is important to us.”

10.3 Test your Knowledge (Question):

1. Summarize the service failures associated with this experience.

2. What might the travel agency do to improve its customers’ service experience

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