Section 1. Construction of Motomachi Plant and Introduction of TQC
Item 5. Introduction of TQC
In the five-year period up to the end of 1964 following the completion of the Motomachi Plant, Toyota released four new passenger car models-the Corona PT20, the Publica UP10, the Crown RS40, and the Corona RT40, all mentioned above. As a result of the introduction of Total Quality Control (TQC) in 1961, the initial quality of new passenger car models improved with each subsequent production start, using the valuable experience gained from the production start-up of the Corona PT20. These efforts bore fruit with the Corona RT40 model.
The introduction of TQC at Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. was outlined in detail in “Establishment of quality control system” (Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 7, Item 6). Then-Executive Vice President Eiji Toyoda explained the background and objectives of the introduction of TQC as follows:
At the start of 1955, we released the Crown, Japan's first full-scale passenger car. Thankfully, it proved extremely popular, and the company grew at a rapid pace.
However, a number of problems began to emerge. Although our personnel had doubled and our production increased seven-fold, the improvement in our quality was not keeping pace with the increase in productivity. We also had many new workers, and the lack of thorough training, the lack of ability and experience of managers, and poor horizontal communication stood out. At the same time, the competition with our rivals on the quality front was becoming increasingly fierce.
We realized that what was needed was firstly for top management to set clearer quality targets and ensure these were thoroughly transmitted to employees, and secondly to put in place a system to improve functional cooperation between departments.
Having identified these two shortcomings, we resolved to expand our regular quality control activities to a company-wide initiative.
As mentioned previously, warranty claims, which had been on a declining trend, had once again begun increasing in 1959 following completion of the first stage of construction at the Motomachi Plant. Based on the experience of the Corona PT20 announced in March 1960, the Quality Control Committee began studying countermeasures, and TQC was introduced the following year in June 1961. TQC aimed to improve business management through full employee participation, under the following policies:
- 1.Heighten awareness of quality and cost, and improve management systems for each function.
- 2.Enhance planning and ensure smooth production start-up for new products.
- 3.Develop close cooperation with Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd. and suppliers.
To start, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. worked to deploy quality control education, led by the Quality Control Division, launching a campaign to halve product defects, and, on the manufacturing front line study sessions were held mostly for the various workplace supervisors (the plant general manager and group managers) to address workplace problems. The concept of "building quality into the process" gradually began to take root in the Manufacturing Group, and the company also worked to deploy quality-control management methods (control cycles) in the Administrative Group and Engineering Group, and to enhance coordination between groups.
The first company-wide audit was conducted in July 1962, a year after the introduction of TQC. The president and all executives under him inspected each department, with a quality control instructor present as an observer. The audit team received explanations on the operational status directly from department and section heads and checked the implementation status of management systems. The following problems were identified as a result of the company-wide audit:
- 1.There was lack of understanding of the true objective of company policy, and, accordingly, there were variations in how the company policy was reflected in departmental policy.
- 2.There was a need to improve the quality of long-term plans.
- 3.There was overall insufficient practice of the "consider the problem based on the facts" approach-using quality control methods to gather data, and basing decisions on such.
- 4.There was weakness in horizontal quality control compared to vertical quality control, and insufficient collaboration between departments.