Toyota's commitment to a world class, quality automobile is entrenched in the entire manufacturing philosophy. From the development stages to manufacturing a product, the quest for superior quality is evident.
The cornerstone of Toyota's quality control system is the
role of the team members in the production process. The principles
on which Toyota was founded are employed at the Georgetown
Toyota involves its team members by:
Toyota team members treat the next person on the production line as their customer and will not pass a defective part on to that customer. If a team member finds a problem with a part or the automobile, the team member stops the line and corrects the problem before the vehicle goes any farther down the line.
Among the many awards earned by Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., are four J.D. Power & Associates Gold Plant Quality Awards, annual industry awards recognizing the finest vehicle manufacturing plants in North America. Since the awards began in 1990, Toyota’s Georgetown facility has placed in the top three a total of ten times for overall plant quality.
In the planning stages, it is important to note that new-product planning emphasizes a product that is as defect-free as possible. In other words, Toyota designs quality into the automobile.
Technical advances, such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD), have helped designers create and modify their specifications much faster than before, while improving design quality. CAD allows designers to see their ideas as they take shape on a monitor display, in addition to clay models.
Quality is an essential part of the pre-production process. Quality is the driving force in establishing a system that meets the goals of design, cost and production volume. The planning phase also establishes a plan that outlines all details of the inspection process. Quality control involves close cooperation of many production departments.
Toyota's quality control during production ensures that the correct materials and parts are used and fitted with precision and accuracy. This effort is combined with thousands of rigorous inspections performed by team members during the production process.
Team members on the line are responsible for the parts they use. They are inspectors for their own work and that of co-workers. When a problem on any vehicle is spotted, any team member can pull a rope called an andon cord strung along the assembly line to halt production. Only when the problem is resolved is the line restarted. This process involves every team member in monitoring and checking the quality of every car produced
Once the vehicles are completed, the tests really get tough. At the end of Final Assembly, the vehicles are first started and then driven to functional inspection. Here, every aspect of the vehicle is put through a demanding set of tests and inspections.
|Vehicle Performance||Roll and Brake Test Area|
Water Test Booth
Every car is sprayed with high-pressure water from all angles and every compartment is checked for water leaks.
Team members probe every inch of the vehicle. Both function and appearance are scrutinized. About 150 175 cars are chosen randomly each day and sent to the test track for a check of road performance and customer satisfaction drive tests.
Through Quality Circles and a suggestion system that rewards employees for ideas, team members strive to achieve the Toyota principle of kaizen, or continuous improvement. More than 90,000 employee suggestions are adopted each year. Some individual team members have contributed more than 1,000 suggestions.
Each team member is a quality inspector. At any time during the production process, any team member who spots a problem can stop production by pulling the "andon cord" located next to the assembly line. An andon board (left) lets supervisors know the location of the problem with a blinking light and a distinct musical tone.
1990 - Gold
1991 - Silver
1992 - Bronze
1993 - Gold
1994 - Gold
1997 - Bronze and “Best in Price Class”
2000 - Gold
2001 – Silver
2006 - Silver
2009 - Bronze