Sticky Situation

Continuing the Toyota conversation

Building a quality reputation requires painstaking effort—years to develop, build and nurture. Maintaining it, of course, requires constant care and attention. What happened to Toyota in recent months shows us the ripple effects that can be caused by a quality problem.

I don’t want to focus on the causes of the quality lapses, but rather, I want to consider the outcomes—the result of these "sticky" accelerators and faulty brakes: millions of recalled vehicles, billions of dollars spent on repairs, and, of course, the damage to Toyota’s reputation and its customers’ loyalty.

Recognizing the broad quality-related implications of Toyota’s recalls, ASQ quickly launched an online community to facilitate conversation and information exchange—a forum for anyone seeking answers, explanation or analysis of the situation. Visit www.asq.org/communities-networking/communities.html to participate.

QP has also been following this story closely. Read what industry veteran and past president of ASQ Ron Atkinson and product-safety expert John Karjanis have to say in "Getting Off the Mat."

Another great source of information about the recalls as well as other quality-related news from top publications around the world is the Quality News Today service. Recently, we launched the QNT Weekly e-newsletter digest, delivered to subscribers every Friday. We started with a six-week trial in which readers needed to opt in to continue receiving it. If you missed the window, you can still sign up for this free member benefit at www.asq.org/keepintouch.html by checking the appropriate box. You’ll also find a list of other free e-newsletters you might be missing.

We have a number of articles focused on social responsibility (SR) this month. The cover story, "Leaning Toward Green" discusses using lean to achieve "green" results. We’ll no doubt be seeing more of these types of stories and case studies as SR gains traction in companies spanning every industry and every continent.

This month’s Career Corner column, "Right, Wrong, Good, Bad or Indifferent?" looks at the role quality professionals can play in SR. Finally, the Standards Outlook column, "Taking Responsibility," details the soon-to-be-released SR standard.

Basic quality tools and methods, by nature, help to achieve socially responsible outcomes. Less cost, reduced waste and minimized resource consumption can be the most immediately apparent outcomes of quality applications. Real-life examples of how this works can be found within the Quality for Life videos at www4.asq.org/qualityforlife.

Seiche Sanders

Seiche Sanders

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