Quality & Service

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What Really Happened to Toyota?

Consumers were surprised in October 2009 by the first of a series of highly publicized recalls of Toyota vehicles in the United States. Citing a potential problem in which poorly placed or incorrect floor mats under the driver’s seat could lead to uncontrolled acceleration in a range of models, Toyota announced that it was recalling 3.8 million U.S. vehicles. The article discusses two root causes for Toyota’s quality problems.


Toyota’s Secret: The A3 Report

How does Toyota solve problems, create plans, and get new things done? Company managers use a tool called the A3, named after the international paper size on which it fits, as a key tactic in sharing a deeper method of thinking. This tactic and style of processing information lies at the heart of Toyota’s sustained success.




Don't Be Unique, Be Better

Even the best companies let their customers down sometimes, and many disappoint frequently. The authors lay much of the blame for this on companies’ obsession with uniqueness and differentiation. According to their analysis, companies are too quick to dismiss “category benefits” as a source of advantage. They explain why companies such as Toyota, Cemex, Orange, Medtronic and Sony are successful because they are simply better at offering what customers really want.


Exploring Scale: The Advantages of Thinking Small

Sometimes large-scale operational efficiencies can mask opportunities. In their research, the authors found that small-scale operations provide significant advantages in four areas. Using case studies, the authors illustrate how companies in a wide variety of industries have found the hidden benefits of small-scale approaches, concluding that executives who learn when it is better to think small can have a potentially huge impact on their companies‘ long-term success.



Beyond Better Products: Capturing Value in Customer Interactions

In a world of mobile talent, open markets and brutal competition, it’s increasingly difficult to maintain an advantage over competitors through product innovation. As a result, some companies have figured out how to outdistance rivals through customer-focused strategies that are virtually imitation-proof.

Showing 21-40 of 44