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Toyota wants to build or produce better cars in this fiercely competitive market for more customers, therefore it must resolve the disparity between supply and demand as soon as feasible. Additionally, TMM manufactures high-quality, superb cars while maintaining its competitive edge. Based on these procedures, Toyota emphasizes cost reduction by completely getting rid of east, which is the TPS. Finding wastes in the production process was made easy by the Toyota Production System. The study of Doug's prospective alternatives for resolving seat faults, including changing the seat design, enticing or hiring more suppliers, and costs, is the main topic of this research offline operational model to reduce cost and improve efficiency in the production. Recommendations to this problem would be the use of a standardized seat model, use of multi-suppliers to increase competition and remove monopoly, designing and building the seat themselves as done in the Japan plant and transformation of offline operations. As an internal consultant, my job was to come up with the best ideas and a solution to deal with the seat problem that was affecting the Toyota car plant in Georgetown. The seat problem has a large impact not only on the number of cars produced per day but also on the workers. This is because most workers had to stay overtime in order to try and meet the targeted number of cars production. This thus implied that the company had to pay extra allowances for overtime. This seat problem seemed to be the root of the reduced production which had actually fallen from 95% to 85%. I also carried out a deep analysis into the principles followed and styles employed in running the plant. The conclusion drawn was that the production of many different styles and colors of seat combinations for cars destined for Europe and export was partly responsible as it led to a strain of the available resources. Another assumption was the problem associated with hooks which seemed to be damaged during installation. This was, however, disapproved by facts as damage associated with hooks during installation had reduced from seven to one in a dozen cases. Focus will also be put on the possible solutions and I will offer recommendations which I deem fit based on the situation at hand.
Toyota has been able to develop its reputation based on Just-in-Time production. Nonetheless, this approach comes out as a building block regarding the larger production philosophy, Toyota Production System (TPS). The case provides a scenario for understanding the concept of TPS, as well as its application to the specific issue. On 1 May 1992, you highlighted concerns about the problems with the seat installation. He tends to wonder on the most effective and efficient approaches to solve the problem, thus, the dilemma in the determination of which solution he should prioritize. Since sales are converging towards plant aptitude, it is ideal for Friesen to pick the actual path in the midst of TPS, as well as the realisms relating to the plant business (Mishina 4).
In the highly competitive automotive industry, Toyota sought to manufacture or produce better cars for more consumers, thus, the need to address divergence demand and supply within the shortest time possible. In the course of producing or manufacturing excellent, quality automobiles and remain competitive, Toyota focused on the development and implementation of its Toyota Production System. The Toyota Production System was ideal in cost reduction by thoroughly eliminating waste. The system tends to incorporate two main principles.
In the first instance, there is the ‘Just-in-Time’ production relating to the process of developing and transference of only what is necessary, at the right time, and appropriate quantity. Secondly, TPS integrates ‘Jidoka’ as the second principle concerning the ability to halt manufacture lines through workers or machines in the context of equipment fault or excellence issues, as well as delayed work. The second principle was ideal in enabling prevention of the passage of defects while facilitating identification and handling of the problematic areas through isolation and localization. The approach was ideal in enabling the institution to build quality brands in the production process. Evidently, the management philosophy relates to the tendency of integrating creativity and effective thinking in the production of quality products.
Based on the case information, TMM has diverse issues in April 1992 regarding the run rationing of the plant. The production fell from 95% to 85% over a short period of time. This implies that 45 fewer cars were assembled in a day as compared to previous times. This thus had an effect on the profitability of the company and on workers as a whole due to them having to work overtime in the course of overcoming this issue. Moreover, several cars desired off-line operations of unique nature prior proceeding to the shipping process. They had to be adjusted and made suitable for their destination countries and areas which consumed a lot of time and labor. The focal cause of the problematic situation was the seats’ flaws based on improper installation in the cars. There are two major elements regarding the seat defects. These elements did emanate from KFS concerning the material faults, as well as solution efforts. At first glance of the case, the problems tend to emanate from the defective or damaged seats. The TMM USA’s problem regarding seats tends to manifest in three aspects.
In the first instance, there is the actual defect with the hooks resulting from cross threading by the workers in the course of seats’ installation. The hooks were found to be damaged during installation although this was found to reduce from seven occurrences per shift to about one per shift when the hooks were changed to plastic. This thus did not seem to be the real cause of the seat issue as it was almost being eradicated. This case would only have a negligible effect on the company’s process of making seats. Instead of fixing the issue with the seat fixing during its occurrence, the company sought to continue with the production of the cars, thus resulting in the worry that was afterwards caused by the seat’s issue.
On the other hand, the seat bolster issue comes out as a distant third. Since KFS is one of the responsible parties, it would be appropriate to consider addressing the situation needs at their site. Based on this approach, it would be ideal for Doug to consider visiting KFS with the intention of inspecting the production or manufacturing, as well as quality control process. In this aspect, the unveiling issues at the sources of the seats, KFS, would be critical in the eradication of the problems at the TMM plant. For instance, the focus on the quality control at the supplier would be appropriate in enabling the institution to eliminate numerous problems in Toyota manufacturing. In the short-term, Doug would also consider addressing the current issue regarding backlog through reconciling orders with the supplier. A deep look into this case at hand showed that the bolt issue did not really have a major impact on the seat problem and the real problem lied somewhere else. The shooting of the bolt at a wrong angle could be fixed in about 30 seconds and hence the reason it was not seen as a real cause of this problem
In the case of the products, cars, with seat issues, the car was able to overcome quality checks on the assembly line with the defective seat. Toyota sought to drive the car to Code 1 clinic area with the intention of determining whether the problem was correctable in that critical area. When the issue demanded a replacement or reinstallation of the seat, the car would relocate to overflow space area to for the delivery of the fresh seat from the provider. It is essential to note that the routine was an exception based on the QC process at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (TMM).
In the context of TMM, the TPS principles were essential in unveiling production issues or problems as self-evident, thus, the need for terminating the production upon detection of any problem. In the case of the defective seats, as evident in the case information, there were critical reasons for an exception at TMM. One of the critical reasons was the prior knowledge by the final assembly workers concerning the problem at hand. Secondly, it was exceptional when TMM felt the high cost of stopping the line based on the time or duration of obtaining the replacement seat. It is essential to note that seat set was the most expensive part of all the elements under procurement by TMM.
Based on the case information, Kentucky Framed Seat (KFS) was the sole supplier. The supplier teamed up effectively and efficiently with the TMM’s operations before the proliferation of the products by TMM. The seat styles did increase from three styles with the four colors to about 18 styles because of the proliferation. In spite of the ability of the contractor to transform the cars experiencing the seat defects, the issue was a chief concern for the assembly plant, especially in 1992. Besides, Doug should concentrate on the legality of the exclusion regarding the faulty seats, as well as organization between the supplier and the plant. According to the information on the case, KFS sought to develop the special delivery of the replacements twice a week. Nonetheless, it could not address the backlog since cars were waiting for the new seats for more than four days.
There were occasional incidents or issues of cross threading in which team members shot bolts at an angle before secure fixation by the important leaders. Alternatively, there were critical incidents, which would damage the seat covering with the hand tools. One of the group leaders sought to report the hook breakage issue, which would derivate assembly process. Evidently, Doug, as the manager of the assembly, should prioritize identification of the processes, which might need improvement. Secondly, Doug should collect more data or information concerning the problems through interviewing the workers or personnel appropriate in pursuit of efficiency in addressing the problem. Thirdly, he should engage in analyzing the data to identify potential gaps regarding current outputs and standards.
As the assembly manager, Doug tends to have various or several options at his disposal. Based on the case information, it is possible to note that the problems tend to emerge following the proliferation of the number of seats from three to eighteen styles in the case of Toyota Motor Manufacturing. This seemed to be where the real problem lied as it would require very many different designs and hence a lot of labor both physical and intellectual during designing. This would put a strain on the process and increase chances of confusion in which a seat would be allocated to the wrong car. It would also put KFS under a lot of pressure so as to be able to perform.
From this perspective, Doug could engage in redesigning or improving off-line operations upon making decisions to continue with correcting the seats off-line. It is also ideal for the manager to consider the critical evaluation of the overwork. Based on these issues, it is appropriate to recommend the following actions concerning TMM and the role or influence of Doug as the assembly manager in handling the seats problems or defects.
In this aspect, it is critical for Doug to consider revising the seat design with the intention of controlling the assembly defects. Based on the information by Shirley Sargent, one of the potential issues on the seat was the sharp edge, which made it difficult for the assembly team to achieve its goals and targets. Critically, it is valuable for Toyota Motor Manufacturing to listen to such positive feedback in the course of revising the seat design for efficiency in addressing the defects. Revising the seat design by redesigning the hooks would be ideal in enabling the institution to monitor and improve chances of success.
An alternative to this would be standardization of the seats which would reduce the finances and time lost in redesigning and using very many different combinations for the same model of car with only the color being different. Standardization will ensure that the sole design will receive all the focus and resources that will be put to it.
Based on the case information, KFS is the sole supplier of the seats to TMM. In the course of addressing the issues concerning the defective seats, it would seem necessary to look for other suppliers. KFS had undergone the training from Toyota in Japan which made it unique from other seat makers and well suited for this job. However, having many suppliers would increase competition which would in turn increase standards and reliability. It would also enable different suppliers to focus on their allocated models rather than having one company focus on very many different designs. The main reason KFS was chosen was due to its location that made it easier for the development of the seats via belts. The approach will contribute to the alleviation of the burden of the sole supplier working on the 18 different seat styles following the proliferation of the styles by TMM. Obviously, proliferation or expansion of the styles, from three to eighteen, by TMM was the onset of the seat defect.
From this perspective, integration of several suppliers would play a critical role in enabling the institution to help solve the problem while enhancing efficiency and specialization among the suppliers concerning different seat styles. Moreover, several suppliers would play critical roles in the improvement of the level of competition while addressing the needs and expectations of the consumers based on the innovative practices by each supplier. Several suppliers would also contribute to the reduction of the costs of operation while eliminating or clearing the backlog, thus, the opportunity to enable TMM to alleviate the burden from KFS, as well as eradicate overwork model among the employees.
Design and Build the seats
This would serve as an alternative to the case of numerous suppliers as it is more effective since they know what is exactly required based on the design of the car. This would be more cost effective as any restructuring will be done at the name plant saving on time used for transportation and other expenses.
Transformation of Offline Operations
Thirdly, it is recommendable for the assembly manager to engage in revising off-line operations with the intention of avoiding overtime work, which is costly for the TMM in pursuit of its goals and targets. In this context, TMM should consider changing its operation model because of ineffectiveness or inefficiency of the Clinic Area. This should be done by increasing the size of the clinic area and employing more workers to be able to deal with the cars as soon as they arrive. The same should be applied to the Overflow Parking Area to address the demands and expectations of the mass problem . These recommendations have the ability and potentiality to enhance the prowess and expertise of the assembly manager in addressing the problem. This is because the high level of the offline vehicle inventory has negative implications on the sales, as well as JIT principle of the TMM. Furthermore, it is essential to highlight the relationship between the long-term quality and efficiency of the different steps of the production.
An alternative would be to change the principals and policies applied by Toyota based on the fact that one policy cannot have the same impact on different situations and scenarios. This implies that it would be necessary to review the principals and policy guidelines to a particular situation at hand and how it applies rather than to have the policy have total control of how a certain outcome should be managed.
The paper focused on the exploration of the seats defects or issues affecting TMM it is production and manufacturing. According to the findings of the paper, the issues did emerge following the proliferation of the styles. Moreover, KFS comes out as the sole supplier of the seats, which come out as the most expensive procured asset. In the course of addressing this issue, Doug should focus on integrating the recommended options such as revising the seats design, adopting several suppliers to overcome the burden from the proliferated styles, and improvement of the offline operations.
Mishina, Kazuhiro, and Kazunori Takeda, “Toyota motor manufacturing,” USA, Inc., Harvard Business School, 1992; 1-22
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