Process Improvement Essay

2234 words - 9 pages

Running head: PROCESS IMPROVEMENT PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT 11
Process ImprovementxxxxxxxxxxMBA6020Strategic Operations ManagementAddress: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxTelephone: xxxxxxxxxxxxxE-mail: xxxxxxxxInstructor: xxxxxxxxxxxAbstractThis document will be evaluating an existing process within Toyota during the time of their accelerator crisis. A problem statement will be defined around the process of internal communication of concerns and ideas between foreign-based Toyota employees and the authoritative management of Toyota based in Japan.Problem Analysis of Selected ProcessProblem framing is a very important, but easily overlooked, part of decision-making. Framing a problem can have a heavy influence on the decisions that are made. It isn't enough to frame the problem; it should be framed with the solution in mind. This helps to keep the end goal of the decision-making process in mind so that the correct choices are made. In the case of Toyota, at the highest level, they had a major problem with some of their products involving unintended acceleration and their handling of customer reports of the problem led to a whole mess of other problems. So from the outside looking in, it seems that many processes internal to Toyota had room for improvement. Although there are many different business sections of Toyota with their own respective problems such as customer service, public relations, manufacturing, the problem I would like analyze and offer improvement on is internal communication process between management and foreign employees and how the breakdown in this process affected some of the business decisions made by Toyota's upper management."As Toyota grew into a global powerhouse in the auto industry, the organizational structure that emerged was a centralized design …"that put key decision-making in the hands of executives in Japan…" Some believed that Toyota's structure in the U.S. ultimately impaired its ability to prevent the safety problems before they reached the crisis" (Greto, Schotter & Teagarden, 2010, pg. 7-8). A quality tool or method used to help with the identification and prioritization of the potential causes of quality problems in a process is cause-and-effect analysis. In a way, this is a reverse engineering method used to identify the elements of a specific quality problem and to identify the causes so that it can be corrected. The problem wasn't the unintended acceleration of certain vehicles; the problem was the internal management decision-making that impacted the engineering of those vehicles which created the engineering problem.For some background information, the defining and founding philosophy of Toyota, the Toyota Way, has been around for a long time but it wasn't until the late 1980s in which they began production of their vehicles in the U.S. Specifically the problem of ideas from U.S.-based employees has been largely ignored for almost 20 years when it comes to key engineering or financial-based decisions....

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