Role of suppliers ‘vital’ to assist troubled Toyota

26 February 2010

2 March 2010 | Gareth Mytton

Toyota must work closely with vendors to overcome the safety problems that led to its recall of more than 8.5 million vehicles, experts have said.

The Japanese carmaker should be engaging its suppliers’ best thinkers to discover the “root cause” of the issues, according to former Chrysler CPO John Campi. He urged Toyota to dissect the problem all the way back through the supply chain.

The comments come as senior Toyota figures appeared before US Congress last week to discuss the safety problems, which included faulty braking systems and sticking accelerator pedals. Jim Lentz, president of Toyota’s US operations, said suppliers would play a vital role in helping win back customer confidence.

Procurement consultant and former Ford buyer Robin Jackson said Toyota would probably reclassify some purchased components as “safety critical” to minimise risks. “Safety critical components are subject to much more exhaustive tests.”

Nicolas Reinecke, expert principal at McKinsey & Company, said Toyota’s hierarchical structure makes internal communication difficult.

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