By Lloyd Graff
Toyota, the icon of lean manufacturing, now has a big fat problem that could devalue the brands which vaulted it to the top selling car company in the world.
The sticky gas pedal that has prompted the recall of Toyotas and Lexus going back to 2005 has been traced back to a bad design in a component made by CTS, an Indiana auto parts supplier. Because Toyota was so committed to lean manufacturing, which translated into common components across platforms and models, the company has to callback the RAV4 SUV, Avalon, Corolla, the top of the line Lexus and the ubiquitous Camry.
Besides being a tort lawyer’s buffet, this debacle besmirches the reputation of Toyota, because the problem must have been recognized in the field years ago, yet was never fully acknowledged until now by the corporation.
This is a tremendous opportunity for Ford, GM and Honda to attack Toyota. Toyota is suffering because of the dark side of lean manufacturing which corrupted virtually every one of its major models from the last five years. Toyota’s reputation will also take a blow just for the fact that it refused to come clean about the problem for years in a marketplace that increasingly demands transparency.
Question: Do you think Toyota’s commitment to lean manufacturing was a significant contributor to its current crisis?
Imagine, this goof is from a company that can develop a thought-controlled wheelchair.
Toyota’s Thought-controlled Wheelchair