Toyota thoughts

The following are comments that QP readers posted at www.qualityprogress.com in response to "Where to Start," the cover story about the fallout from the Toyota recalls (April 2010). Use the comment tool on the article’s web page to share your thoughts.

I believe that Frank Murdock’s focus on a risk-analysis method hit the nail right on the head. Bob Hayes’ article on customer feedback is more of a focus on the symptom of a problem and will be a clean-up exercise in the aftermath of finding what the true root cause is.

For example, the first time I saw the current floor-mat solution, I realized immediately it was—at best—a superficial attempt to keep the floor mat in place.

Ron Atkinson gets close to a true root cause and explains that certain positive and persistent check points must be implemented, especially in those processes involving the error-prone human element. Humans are not perfect and never will be. Our focus should always include that limitation as part of our plan to mitigate risk. Perhaps that is what Don Smith is driving at.

Personally, I believe that after a death or two occurred, Toyota’s top-level managers were well aware of the situation. But in today’s world, that’s when the legal department took the lead to resolve the issues. That’s the way things work in today’s world. To a certain extent, it is effective and is the least costly method.

Daniel Felix
Mesa, AZ

I started reading this article but was quickly bored. I did like your previous articles where there were no opinions, just reported facts. In case ASQ has not taken a good look, the root cause is simply greed.

Toyota’s failure to take timely containment action resulted in a number of deaths. Some of these, if not all, could have been prevented. It is on this basis that criminal charges, as part of the corrective action, should be filed. At this point, we are not talking about quality issues as normally perceived.

Nicholas Squeglia
Essex, CT

Social commentary

I was very disappointed in the Standards Outlook column "Taking Responsibility" (March 2010). I’ve always been an ardent supporter of ISO standards. However, I am now questioning my position.

Many of the items discussed in this column are still debatable and, in some cases, political in nature. I would hope that an organization like the International Organization for Standardization has not opted for populist ideology, but remains on a path to quality and operational excellence.

I agree conditionally that all companies should be socially responsible and remain within the rules and regulations set forth by federal, state and municipal governments. Companies should be good neighbors and active in the community. But we cannot forget that companies are for-profit organizations that strive for customer satisfaction, environmental compliance and quality excellence.

William H. Ashworth
San Antonio

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