Toyota discovered testing of components wasn’t as rigorous as it expected

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 15, 2010

In its audit of suppliers in North America following the massive recalls, Toyota Motor Corp. discovered that the crisis stemmed from a “problem that came from the design- development stage.” Last Wednesday, Dino Triantafyllos, vice president of North American product quality, said that testing of components wasn't rigorous enough.

He said that instead of testing four times a year, some suppliers were only doing it once a year. Triantafyllos revealed that Toyota “found areas where maybe there was a misunderstanding about some aspects of the process.”

He said that if the improvements they’re doing now had been made two years ago, then it’s likely that those acceleration issues wouldn't have occurred.

After recalling over 8 million vehicles globally for defects linked to unintended acceleration, Toyota faces the challenge of regaining customer trust and market share. Toyota and an outside consultant claimed that in Toyota City, it hired 40 engineers and created teams to inspect the designs of components.

Hiroshi Osada, who leads a panel formed by the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers to assist Toyota examine its efforts to enhance quality, said that quality defects can be prevented upon closer examination of components.

Osada is a professor of management at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and was awarded the Deming prize in 2009 for his contributions to quality control. [via Bloomberg]

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