Vehicle recall will send Toyota into overdrive

27 January 2011
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27 January 2011 | Angeline Albert   

Car manufacturer Toyota faces a “logistical nightmare” in its supply chain to recall 1.7 million vehicles worldwide following fears over possible fuel leaks.  

In the UK alone, Toyota said it would recall 15,500 Avensis 2.0 litre and 2.4 litre petrol-engine models made between July 2000 and September 2008. The company is also recalling 3,100 UK registered Lexus IS 250 models, made between August 2007 and February 2009.

Referring to Toyota Avensis vehicles, Toyota said: “The first concern is related to the fuel pipe, where small cracks can potentially develop. The second concern is related to potential insufficient tightening of the fuel pump check valve. In the worst case, these issues may cause fuel to leak.”

Referring to Lexus vehicles, Toyota said “possible insufficient tightening” of the fuel pressure sensor could “in very rare cases cause fuel to leak”.

Antony Bourne, global industry director at software provider IFS, believes Toyota will have to rely heavily on the IT systems supporting its supply chain to successfully execute the recall.

Bourne said: “There’s no denying it, this recall, and others like it, are logistical nightmares. Toyota’s internal distribution and logistics machine will be in overdrive now getting a handle on the implications this recall will have on its vast, complex, global supply chain. The job at hand isn’t just getting the nearly 1.7 million cars to dealers around the world for repairs.”

Bourne added that IT systems will be needed to “…among many other things, track down owners, contact dealers, trace spare parts, manufacture parts, manage distribution, and verify that repairs have been made”.

He said: “The accuracy, integration, flexibility and speed of these IT systems will be sorely tested in the coming weeks and months, as will Toyota’s agility as a business.”
Toyota’s global recall also affects other vehicle models sold in Japan.  

Toyota GB said in a statement registered owners should take their vehicle to a Toyota or Lexus repairer.

David Noble, chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) said: “Toyota’s continuing troubles highlight the difficulties and risks faced by global companies with long and complex supply chains. As the company’s procurement teams chase round to trace all the affected products and address quality control, they will also be looking to rapidly replace stocks and, in the worst case scenario, look for new suppliers if they can't resolve these issues quickly. We very rarely seem to hear about shareholders and analysts interrogating companies about how robustly their supply chains are managed, yet this is one of the most important functions and biggest areas of risk a business has.” 

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