Controlling and Cost-Cutting Contribution to Toyota Recent Massive Recalls

The strategy of globalization comes with the advantage of price competitiveness and a challenge of management issues.  The ability of management to anticipate envisions and maintains flexibility with the changing and demanding markets is paramount to the success of the company. Efficient and effective use of available resources through planning, organizing and putting structures that will ensure the same is significant. The overall goal achievement of a large company like Toyota is based on the management styles of the people in charge of the processes. Toyota admitted that the recent recall was because of defects from the America assembling plants. Compared to other car makers Toyota was leading in crashes reported with six fold the industry average. Car manufacturers need to be equipped with excellent capabilities of product design, production engineering and product assembly. There is a quite a number of reasons why the error in the manufacturing lines might have occurred this include:

  1. Employee errors
  2. Inefficient quality management
  3. Management errors in design and production lines
  4. Cost-cutting at the expense of quality
  5. inefficient control process

Employee Errors
The massive expansion of Toyota in the US as it tried to build more local plants to shield itself from the effects of the fluctuations of the yen leading to higher cost of raw materials led to recruitment of many locals. These recruitments led to hiring of less skilled workers considering that America has other   car assembly lines. This was not in line with the Toyota’s culture since its inception in early 70s where it always for the best of the best in Japan. This may have led to the manufacture errors of the crenellation pedal, which could at times be sticky leading to the rise in crushes in a series of Toyota brands.
Inefficient Quality Management
Until recently Toyota has in the past’ achieved an outstanding reputation for the production of high-quality vehicles in many countries across the world. The recall of a series of Toyota brands to the tune of more than four million has put the company under tough scrutiny over quality control.  Quality management and competitiveness in the market seems to have an effect on the way a company carries out its activities based on the principles of production of quality vehicles. Customer satisfaction being essential to quality research and development as well as retailing and manufacturing divisions is keen on quality improvement. Performance based on customer satisfaction and profitability runs a cycle of reproducing the customer value provision. With the basic principle of quality at Toyota, being that quality is built in every stage and is continually improved then this was not the case in the reasons behind the recall. A problem occurred and it took time for the carmaker to spot it. This later caused a lot of pain to the company. Strict adherence to quality management principles is significant for any assembly lines to successfully produce high-quality vehicles. The team involved in the assembly should ensure that only the best work pass to the next process with each member being responsible for the quality of his or her work. If any abnormality is noticed, a worker is required to pull the hand-on cord to stop the process allowing time for investigation.
Management Errors in Design and Production
A weakness in a plants management on implementation of projects and planning of skills might have resulted to a mistake in the process. A management that is able to precisely and effectively communicate with the work force on the expectations of each team player is significant for an effective production system.  There are discussions about a good balance between quality management and price competitiveness. The principles that form the foundation Toyotas management according to the company’s publication, “the Toyota way 2001” include challenge, improvement, go and see, respect and team work. These factors enabled the company’s management to spot the errors in its production learning from it and moving remarkably fast to correct the mistake in order to gain customer approvals for the action. This reveals some defects in the company’s management.
Cost cutting at the expense of quality
Ridiculous cost cutting efforts by the top management from the ambitious ccc21 cost reduction program spearheaded by Katsuaki Watanabe who later became the president to the encouragement of an employee to use stairs instead of the lift in a move to save on electricity. This program, which saved Toyota $10 billion, might have compromised quality from suppliers since it involved squeezing lower prices from them.  The rising cost of raw materials with the demand for higher profits from shareholders has forced the top management to make a decision, which in the past could have seemed not to be comparable with Toyotas culture. When these things are happening it is highly unlikely that even the employee morale and spirits are high considering that job cuts are also happening.
An Inefficient Control Process
With the size of Toyota, total control of the company by the top management is an enormous challenge. The flow of information and alignment of the different levels of the control process from the corporate level to functional level through the divisional level needs a lot of facilitation from all team players. Toyotas organizational culture is keen on quality innovations and methodologies of quality realization as well as the increasingly diversified, sophisticated and complicated workforce as it is a global entity. A gap between the levels of the control process at Toyota was revealed over the period of the recall. Assessments to ensure alignment of the different levels should be done regularly for peak efficiency. To ensure this the various control types should be applied this include organization design, output, behavioral, financial and the organizational culture. If these are not taken into consideration, the company may suffer a crisis of morale, confidence, productivity and innovations on the side of the work force.
The recall was a massive blow to Toyotas reputation and company image at large. The root problem of the recall reveals a defect in the company’s management and control structures. The company’s philosophy through its four decades of existence has been challenged. However, it is been through these lessons that Toyota has been able to respond to the changes to the dynamic business environment. Toyotas quality problem of sticking accelerator pedals has offered an insight to the industry on the consequences of a failed quality control system. As a necessity, it is essential to check quality at both design and production stages.

“Acceleration Problem”. Retrieved on 18th April 19, 2011 from     
CBS News. February 5, 2010. “Toyota Chief Apologizes for Recalls”. Retrieved on 18th April 19,             2011 from
De Bono, Edward and Heller, Robert. Thinking Managers. April 9, 2010. “The Toyota Disaster –             and what we can learn from it”. Retrieved on 18th April 19, 2011 from   
The Inside Game: Winning with Workplace Strategies. (1986). Washington: Industrial Unions       Department of the AFL-CIO.
Traeger, Carol. “What Are Automakers Doing for Women? Part II: Toyota Takes    an American Approach”.  Retrieved on 18th April 19, 2011 from   

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