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Toyota System In Kentucky Plant
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The production of the new Camry model has introduced new challenges in the Toyotaâ€™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 todayâ€™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 for so long. KFS was making special deliveries of new seats twice a day to replace the defective seats, but still there were cars with defective seats sitting in overflow lot for over four days. The other seat issues that Mr. Friesen should look into are the problems caused by cross-threading, breaking.
Doug Friesen should try to gather as much information as he can to determine where the problem lays. I would interview the workers in the assembly line and try to get details into why they think the seats are ending up defective. Talk to Kentucky Framed Seat (KFS) to see if any problems exist in having to adjust to the added seat variations. Perhaps there is something Toyota Motor Manufacturing, USA (TMM) could help KFS in meeting the seat demands more efficiently. The coordination and keeping the lines of communication open between both companies will be crucial in fixing this problem.
The fact that cars are waiting for replacement seats for four days even though KFS responds to defective seats by sending replacements twice a week tells us there is a communication problem by TMM or a production problem with KFS. Friesen should focus in this problem since this seems the most imminent problem.
In early 1992, TMM became the sole source of new Camry wagons with more than 41 seat variations exported over the world. Doug Friesen, manager of assembly for TMM, confronted seat problems resulting in drop of run ratio (production level) and in increase of overtime works, lead- time and off-line vehicle inventory.
First, reduction of seat variance is not considered as an alternative because Doug is a manager of assembly without control over sales decisions. Second, although inefficient feedback system is observed, improvement of information sharing is not considered as an alternative because Doug requires specific solutions for seat problems after all feedbacks are shared and discussed.
Analysis of Seat Problems
Two major problems are observed: process and feedback management problems in TMM and quality control management issues in KFS.
Failure of seat quality management in KFS caused most seat problems such as problematic
At Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Kentucky, the plant is having a problem with defective seats in its production of Toyota Camry's. The plant has had success in implementing TPS (Toyota Production System), a manufacturing system that was developed in Toyota plants in Japan and was based around the whole concept of â€œbuilding in quality in the production process and condemned any deviation from value-addition as waste.â€ Doug Friesen, assembly manager at the plant, was told of the specific problem as told in the case:
â€œRegarding the seat, she [Shirley Sargent, group leader] drew Friesenâ€™s attention to an ongoing problem since the past fall: during rear side bolster
installation, a hook protruding from the back of that part was to be snapped into the â€˜eyeâ€™ of the body, but the hook sometimes broke off.â€
This is the problem Friesen needs to focus his attention on in order to solve this problem.