Bridging Cultures for Quality: Training Is the Key

Article

Miller, Tim; Moran, Linda   (1991, ASQC)   Zenger-Miller, Inc., Oak Brook, IL

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9739    May 1991    pp. 767-772
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Article Abstract

Subaru-Isuzu Automotive (SIA), a joint venture between two Japanese companies, realized that U.S. production was essential in order to compete with other Japanese auto manufacturers. This paper summarizes SIA's efforts to select the right employees and use the right processes for measuring and evaluating quality. The authors also present their 8-level model of employee involvement.

Following the examples of both parent companies, SIA used work teams and sought employees with a transcultural belief in continuous improvement through teamwork. The company adopted ten fundamental operating principles, which defined how the plant would operate. Their first challenge was to select 1,700 employees (Associates) from 40,000 applicants. The next challenge was to provide 100 hours of training for each Associate in job skills as well as communication and interpersonal skills. SIA used Zenger-Miller's eight-stage model of employee involvement, which begins with information sharing and ends with self-directed work teams.

Production began ahead of schedule, and the vehicles produced at SIA exceeded the quality of vehicles built at the parent companies in Japan. Within six months of production, the Subaru Legacy reached a performance of meeting quality standards 100% of the time.

Keywords

Learning,Human resources (HR),Manufacturing,Safety,Subaru-Isuzu Automotive (SIA),Automobile industry


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