The failure of Toyota’s management to keep to the Toyota Way, continual improvement at every level of the company, is testament to the Deming philosophy. It not only works but has been the core of Toyota’s success for the last half century.
Toyota’s management forfeited the Toyota Way in their pursuit of market share and the goal of becoming as fast as possible the world’s most profitable and largest automotive manufacturer. The cost: loyalty to customers and customer loyalty. Apparently Toyota management could not train enough engineers to stay on top of process or product quality. Despite its capital value exceeding the Detroit car manufacturers combined, Toyota sought to cut costs by avoiding possible troublesome recalls.
We believe the company is still better prepared than any of its competitors to regain its leadership position. Several generations of managers and workers both in Japan and the U.S. embody this way of thinking and its practices. Retired chairman and president Shoichiro Toyoda’s statement has great relevance than ever to the Toyota situation:
Now more than ever, we need to remember the teachings of Dr. Deming: simply put, quality first and follow through with honest practices of developing quality products and quality people.