One of the drastic changes that Toyota Motor Corp. made in response to the recent massive recalls is for its executives to have more and unfamiliar job assignments. Two executives at Toyota's US manufacturing and engineering headquarters in Erlanger, Ky., have taken on more job titles.
Steve St. Angelo, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America in Erlanger, Ky., got the additional title of North American chief quality officer. Meanwhile, St. Angelo's vice president of quality, Dino Triantafyllos, got the role of regional product safety executive.
Toyota has had to make radical changes in how it oversees product quality in North America and the rest of the world. Many complained about Toyota's slow and combative response to years of consumer complaints about unintended acceleration in some of its best-selling models.
In 2009, Toyota recalled 8.5 million vehicles around the world and even had to suspend production of several assembly lines. During televised congressional hearings, Toyota executives admitted that all product recall authority resided in Japan. They also said that the home office had not been quick to respond to American safety concerns.
Toyota is in the process of making important changes especially in the manner in which the company runs its business. According to Steve St. Angelo, this is to make sure that the brand will set the bar even higher when it comes to matters that concern how the company responds to its customers and its transparency with regards to government regulators.
More importantly, it wants to establish higher standards for vehicle reliability and vehicle safety. St. Angelo adds that this new group will be responsible for opening the lines of communication on a global scale thereby allowing Toyota to be able to take action on any concerns involving its products specifically on the North American market.
This action is being done to comply with the directive of Akio Toyoda that North America should have greater autonomy in its operations. In particular, St. Angelo relates, it is expected to have an important role in making the necessary decisions of vehicle recalls and other car safety issues.
The North American Quality Task Force will be composed of the senior executives of the company’s different departments. These include manufacturing, sales, research and development, and regulatory divisions. The newly appointed Regional Product Safety Executive will also be part of the team.
Dino Triantafyllos, who is TEMA vice president of quality, will oversee different processes, two of which are to ensure that customer concerns are noticed and resolved right away and to efficiently manage safety-related proposals for North American operations.
As such, the company expects that Triantafyllos will play a very important role when it comes to decision-making on matters concerning not just recalls but all other safety concerns.
According to Mr. Triantafyllos, the goal of this quality task force is to give a guarantee that North American operations will listen to its customers as well as make a prompt and appropriate response. Mr. Triantafyllos adds that his main responsibility is to ensure that the company is able to use all of the available data at its disposal in order to make the proper action.