Losing Their Way

The recent troubles of global car manufacturer Toyota offer a real-world example of the need to reinvent enterprises with a focus toward enterprise risk management.  As Jack Bergstrand and I discussed in our recent webcast, companies today are relying on outdated management principles that emphasize specialization and limited communication across business units.  This contributes to greater risk and ultimately a diminished brand.  Here is what Forbes magazine reported this week about the management failures at Toyota.

President Akio Toyoda acknowledged in an opinion piece he wrote for The Washington Post last week the company had “failed to connect the dots” between the sticky pedals in Europe, surfacing as early as December 2008, and those in the U.S. that culminated in the massive recalls. The error in Europe was corrected, starting with the Aygo hatchback in August 2009, and those models were not included in the latest global recalls.

Making the exact same product again and again – what’s known as “quality control” in manufacturing – isn’t the same thing at all as ensuring safety, according to Steven McNeely, who oversees safety management systems at Jet Solutions, a Richardson, Texas-based carrier.  “Management’s attention and oversight was focused on the business bottom line, and those metrics were quality measures. Management was not focused on safety risk assessment or risk management,” he wrote in his essay, “Lessons Learned From Toyota.”  Others say rigorous testing, managerial foresight and valuing customers are critical to the true Toyota Way, and the company has derailed from that path.

The greater size and complexity of today’s corporations demand a new way of managing.  If you agree, visit www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com to learn more.


About Wheelhouse Advisors
Wheelhouse Advisors LLC is the publisher of The ERM Current™, an online publication and blog dedicated to providing the latest updates on current trends in Enterprise Risk Management & Control. Wheelhouse Advisors provides cost-effective Enterprise Risk Management & Control solutions to both large and mid-size corporations. To learn more about Wheelhouse Advisors, please visit our web site at www.WheelhouseAdvisors.com.

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