Why I’m mourning Toyota I’m sure that you’ve heard about the Toyota news. by prakhar via Flickr Recalls happen.? It is a fact that recalls are inevitable. Although it is usually minor, recent recalls by companies have been extensive. Recently Toyota experienced multiple problems with accelerators sticking and potential brake system problems. The part that I am most grieving is the reports that Toyota had to apply a lot of pressure outside to make certain decisions in some cases. These are serious safety concerns. According to Ray LaHood (US Transportation Secretary), when government officials tried to contact Toyota North America offices, they were not responsive. To get attention to the issue, it took a trip to Japan. Toyota is no longer the iconic company it was once. Was it my unrealistic view of the company’s operations? These are my questions:

  • Why didn’t a company that is known for its kaizen not have a feedback system in place to be the first to learn about problems?
  • LaHood asks: What institutional processes have been broken that made Toyota “safety blind”? This is not a result of individual errors, but a reflection of organizational process deficiencies.
  • What has happened and what lessons can we take from recent events?
  • I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section.