The production system used in any company determines the success or failure of the company. Companies that have an efficient production system have higher chances of success as compared to the ones that are poorly organized. In Toyota, one of the largest production companies in the world, the production system remains a major example of successful companies in the world and is emulated by many other companies. The company uses a socio-technical production system that includes the management philosophy and practices. The effectiveness of a production system can be seen in the way the company meets its targets and the level of satisfaction seen in their customers. Toyota has been in operation for many years and they have a wide range of products that are sold across the world. The production system is set in a way that it allows for the interaction between the company, the suppliers and the consumers, and their views are taken into consideration when making the automobiles. As analyzed in the rest of the essay, the production system is effective in meeting the needs of the customers.
Weaknesses in the Toyota Product Life Cycle
The product life cycle is the process through which a product goes from the time it is introduced into the market to the time that the sales drop significantly. It is the analysis of the stages of sales that are related to the time from when the product is introduced into the market. The product life cycle includes a sequence of stages which include introduction, growth, maturity, and decline (McAuliffe, 2015). In Toyota, the maturity stage of the product life cycle has several strengths and weaknesses. The first weakness is that the company has recalled their vehicles several times which affects the trust that people have in their production. For example, the company recalled many vehicles in 2011 after they were noticed to make a lot of noise when moving, some others had cases of oil leakage, and many cases of breakage. The above challenges affected the loyalty of the consumers and there were many complaints across the world on the poor performance and low efficiency of these vehicles. Such recalls can affect the brand image and reduce the success of the products along with their product lifecycle. The other weakness and one which is related to the introduction phase is that the company has its production done only in the United States and Japan and this reduces its ability to take advantage of the growing global economy. The production life cycle requires a consistent update to make sure it meets the needs of the consumers.
New Product Design and Strategies to Achieve It
The new product design is meant to satisfy a new need in the market or to keep up with the competition. One of the challenges and threats the company faces is the increased competition from other companies like Honda. The new product design will include a customized system, a feature that allows the consumers to choose the features they want to have in their cars. The design is meant to increase customer satisfaction and to increase the loyalty of the consumers. The aim is to combine beauty with performance, such that consumers can have beautiful vehicles that have high performance as well. The new product design strategy is Toyota Product Efficiency Production, which is aimed at combining the tastes and preferences of the consumers with beauty to meet the satisfaction of the consumers. The first strategy to achieve it is to increase the production sites in several more countries. As noted above, one of the main weaknesses is that production is only done in Japan and the US. The company should have more production sites in the rest of the world. The other strategy is to improve the production process to reduce chances for recalling their products. The goal can be achieved through proper training and testing of all products before they are released into the world. Currently, the challenge facing Toyota is that they are slow on responding to challenges associated with their products. There has been a challenge in their communication and this affects the satisfaction of the consumers (Bebeteidoh & Takim, 2016). Better training of the staff members can help to improve the communication process and increase the performance of the company. The Toyota Product Development System (TPDS) is not efficient in meeting the changing tastes and preferences of the customers. Therefore, the above proposals are effective in filling the gap in the production of the company. The rationale is that the new product design will meet the needs that the company is not meeting currently.
Key Components of the Supply Chain
The supply chain management in Toyota is guided by the principles that make up the Toyota Way. The company summed up its manufacturing, philosophy, and values in 2001 to make up the Toyota Way, which is a set of 14 principles that guide its operations (Bendek, 2016). The components of the supply chain include planning, information, source, inventory, production, location, transportation and the return of goods. The above components apply in Toyota, whereby the company uses the above components to meet the requirements of the supply chain and to reduce the number of defects through better production processes and improved follow up of the sales process. The company also uses the Just in Time system that enables the company to be proactive, to minimize losses and costs and to manage the supplies that flow into the company. The company is committed to imposing the operations of the suppliers to make them better and stronger. The components listed above help the company in making decisions on the supply chain management and makes it strong.
Issues Affecting the Supply Chain
The supply chain management can be affected by several factors. One of them is the uncertainty in the environment, whereby the company may not know the next occurrences in the market. For example, after the recall of the vehicles in 2011, the company had a challenge in managing the supply chain because of the unexpected occurrences in the market. Uncertainty affects the sourcing and purchasing because the company finds it hard to have a consistent plan. The solution is to plan ahead on how to deal with poor quality in production and to have flexible operations that can be adjusted easily to allow the company to make changes in the design of their products whenever necessary. Currently, the production process is static and does not allow changes during the production process.
The other factor is changing policies by the governments. As a multinational company, Toyota is affected by a change in policies by the governments and this can affect the structuring of the supply chain. When policies change, for example, the licensing policy and taxation, the company have to adjust their operations accordingly to meet the requirements of the company. The sourcing in the supply chain can also be affected by changes in the tastes and preferences of the consumers. For example, the purchasing trend can dictate the production and how the company makes purchases for the raw materials. Higher demand requires an increase in the number of supplies bought. The solution is to invest more in research and development that helps to predict the changes in tastes and preferences.
The third one is changing technology that affects the production process and also affects the taste and preferences of the consumers. For example, increased automation of vehicles forces the company to change their production process and also affects the tastes and preferences of the consumers. The structuring, purchasing, sourcing and the supply chain is affected by the above factors in that changes have to be made as per the needs of the customers.
Total Quality Management Tool
The total quality management tool used in a company refers to the method used to achieve the required quality. The tool is used to troubleshoot the quality challenges facing a company and it also helps to reduce the number of defects. According to Ehie and Gilliland (2016), many businesses fail to achieve their targets because they do not apply the right quality management tools. In Toyota, lean production requires an effective way of ensuring there are quality outcomes and the best tool to use is a check sheet. The company has suffered from poor quality in the past that led to the recalling of some of its cars. A check sheet can help to avoid such an occurrence. It is used to collect data and mark the number of times that a defect occurs. It can also be used to mark the quality steps taken to make sure that the final product meets all quality requirements set by the company. It is also useful in determining the information that should be shared among departments and the areas that need improvement. The check sheet will be used by the production manager and supervisors to follow up on the production process.
The first rationale for using the check sheet is that it gives the company a uniform data collection method. The data collected through this process is reliable and this makes it easy to compare the performance over time and to determine if there are any improvements. The other rationale is that it helps in identifying facts and opinions. The data collected over time can be analyzed to determine the facts that affect the business and the mere opinions that may not have major impacts on the company's production. Toyota Company can use the check sheet to ensure that all quality measures are achieved and that there are no defects in the final products released into the market. Currently, the company does not use a check sheet in all production processes.
Advantages of Employing the Just-In-Time Philosophy
The use of this philosophy has increased the effectiveness of the company in meeting its targets. One of its advantages is that it is cost effective. When the raw materials are only received when they are about to be used, the company does not need to pay for storage and this reduces the operational costs of the company. The other advantage is that it reduces wastage and damages of raw materials. If the stock is stored for long, there are high chances that they can get destroyed or obsolete before they are used. In Toyota, all materials required in the production are bought just in time for their usage. The other advantage is that the system can be used when the company does not have a lot of money to spend on the production system. The money required to make orders for supplies is little and Toyota company can manage the production process effectively.
Impacts of the Philosophy on Quality Assurance
The Just-In-Time philosophy can affect the quality in a few ways and the first one is that it can expose the company to supply shocks that affect the quality of the products. Supply shocks occur when the supply of the materials is inconsistent and the products received are not of the best quality. It can be as a result of changes in the market that affect the suppliers. For example, if the company requires to make new cars and there is a shortage in supply of the raw materials, they may be forced to use the only available materials, regardless of their quality, in order to meet the demand. Such a step can affect the quality of the vehicles and can lead to a recall later. In case there is a challenge in logistics, which is a complement of the philosophy that supports high efficiency in production. The company may have to delay the production, which may leave it with inadequate time to make the final products. A failure of the computer system to detect the low stock can delay the request of the company for more stock. The company philosophy is deeply focused on efficiency in production and this can help in ensuring the high-quality production. The other impact...
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