It seems when a car manufacturer such as Toyota recalls as many cars as they did and sullying a stellar reputation could hurt sales. Toyota completed 97% of its recalls in less than six months while giving a lesson to other companies on how to handle the mass of recalls and reverse logistics.
Whether it was an engineering issue for the accelerator problems, possibly quality control or even user error they were able to fix the problems. This supply chain hiccup and customer service nightmare has caused Toyota to re-examine their entire operations from top to bottom. Due to competition and staying on top may have caused complacency by Toyota to produce the best possible quality cars and trucks which had kept them as one of the perpetual top car manufacturers.
By having a colossal hiccup such as they did spanning several models, different issues and several model years they were able to refocus and recommit to their engineering, quality control, manufacturing, reverse logistics, supply chain, systems, business process management, lean initiatives, supplier quality, collaborative techniques and customer service were all re-examined and refocused. The above processes span all aspects of running their entire business and this hiccup may have been the catalyst to refocus and reinvent the Toyota organization.
A few of the initiatives and achievements that resulted since the massive recall:
- Managed to notify owners and mitigate lawsuits
- Set new standard in communicating with customers
- Regained their spot as the world’s #1 car company (previously usurped VW)
- Sales up 12% from last year
- Refocusing on new safety standards the Star Safety pack (Star Safety System will include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Antilock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST) as standard features on all 2011 models)
Listening to a number of top executives from Toyota – an underlying theme that all of them reiterate is that this has caused them to re-evaluate all things within their org structure and take swift action to correct broken processes. It is this ability to examine internally and make the correct changes that allows for their competitive nature without letting egos get in the way. They made mistakes and have taken the appropriate actions to fix them. They redefined their customer service procedures in increasing communications and also re-engineered their reverse logistics processes to accommodate the recalls. This is a lesson that all companies can learn from regardless of industry, admit your mistake, fix it and make it right.
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