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Toyota Case Study

Essay by   •  December 2, 2012  •  Case Study  •  536 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,117 Views

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Case summary:

In this case, it mainly talks about the seats problem that the Doug Friesen, assembly manager of Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, faced in April, 1992. During that time, a growing number of cars are sitting off-line with defective seats or even without seats, and the product run ratio was dropped about 10%, so labors must work extra time in order to complete their target. However, this plant in Kentucky is built in 1985 and is an exemplar of Toyota's famed production system, which means most of its production system was transplant from TMC's current unique TPS such as JIT production, jidoka. Friesen wants to find out why TMM in Kentucky meet the seats problem while nothing happened in other Toyota manufacturing and he also wants to use TPS principles and tools to solve all the problems. This case also mentions a lot of methods used in TMM such as Andon, Heijnka, kaizen, and Kanban.

1. What is the role of inventory in Toyota's problems?

Inventory is one of the reasons that cause the seats problem. In this case, the TMM in Kentucky uses the Just-in- time principle, which can help TMM to produce only what was needed, only how much was needed and only when it was needed. This principle can lead to 0 inventories. But the problem is that without inventory, labors cannot finish car assembly when there's something wrong with the seats or the seats was damaged. No replacing seats in the plant's storehouse and its supplier only delivery the seats 2 times a day and sometimes sent the wrong seat assemblies. Another problem is that without inventory, it is hardly for the plant to check up the seats before sent these seats to the assembly line, if the seats was wrong or damaged, labor cannot stop using it before the begin to assembly and when seats problems comes out , it is hard for the manager to figure out which part was the first part that the seats goes wrong.

2. Is Toyota lean? Support your answer.

In my opinion, Toyota is lean production and is partly lean enterprise. Toyota can align all steps in an activity in a continuous flow, recombine labors into cross-functional teams dedicated to that activity and striven for "better cars for more people." This meant producing cars meeting diverse customer preference with flawless quality. Toyota thus instilled "good thinking" in all its employees, it enabled people to seek kaizen: change for better. All these characters are the character of a lean production. However, I think Toyota is not totally a lean enterprise because although Toyota successfully understood the needs of the individual and needs of companies and satisfy these two needs especially the needs of companies, it fails to satisfy the needs of functions. It is a fact that Toyota creates many unique production systems such as JIT and jidoka



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