toyota (2)

Another Recall? Toyota’s Vaunted Ad Campaign

Featuring Safety Emphasis . . . BOGUS AGAIN!

Rajjpuut has predicted and now been proven correct three times on Toyota’s total management incompetence. The mainstream media has not followed the story correctly, and of course, believing this is a recent Toyota aberration, has not emphasized the true underlying problems and causes: Toyota’s culture of internal and external lies; and acute mismanagement.

In recent times a braking problem was covered up by insisting that extra thick floor mats were the problem; then roughly 3/4 of a year later they acknowledged they had a real braking problem; followed by a real steering problem; and now a real engine problem that manifests as stalling when the engine operates at high speeds. For this new problem, Toyota is once again returning to its resource of last resort: new car recalls.

But in fact, Toyota has had a slightly different braking problem, which they’ve flat-out denied since roughly 1998. Rajjpuut first became aware of the Toyota problem when several instances of customers wrecking their garages and cars and parking lot accoutrements and even killing by-standers were reported in ’98 and '99. Toyota, denied the problem but angry customer letters continued for at least five years attesting to its continuing reality.

Where does all this Rajjpuut clairvoyance come from? Actually, it’s nothing of the sort. Trained long ago in Kepner-Tregoe** management techniques as all Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas employees were at that time, all the facts since ’98 have pointed to a corporate Toyota culture that was in denial and which really didn’t understand the simplest item in any effective manager’s arsenal: distinguishing real problems and real causes from B.S. Let’s look at the recent braking problem . . . .

Toyota has pretty much acted like their problems are all in the past, all of it. Their new ad campaign emphasizing customer security and safety is totally bogus, or in management language: completely specious. Their P-R ad campaign sounds nice but is fundamentally flawed, did you ever once hear them state the exact nature of the problem; or their exact “fix” for the problem; or the exact way that their “fix” operates? Unless these things occur and, in the case of public relations disasters like Toyota’s been suffering, unless those things occur and then are publicly acknowledged and explained, count on it, the problem is not only NOT FIXED, it has most probably not even been discovered yet.

In the face of all this Toyota denial, Rajjpuut has the last three times ventured the educated guess that Toyota’s problems are NOT mechanical as the company insists, but rather tied into their cars’ computer oversight systems. Could Rajjpuut be wrong? Damn straight, amigo! Nevertheless, the fact of the matter is that mechanical problems are relatively easy to discover and fix . . . (and again, reminding you that Toyota has NOT stated the exact nature of the problem; the exact “fix” for the problem; or the exact way that their “fix” operates) Rajjpuut still suggests that computer problems (perhaps caused by lack of shielding for stray external signals) lie at the heart of both the braking and steering problems. While it’s possible that such a transient-caused computer problem might also tie in to the new engine-stalling problem, there are ten thousand potential causes for such a stall (for example, vapor lock! as well as “random over-ride” by some other <perhaps safety-oriented> system) and much less is known thus far about the engine problem than has been reported about the other situations.

Rajjpuut suggests that Toyota invites the Kepner-Tregoe folks to examine the four problem areas they’ve experienced as well as their whole operation top to bottom and to give Toyota managers at every level in every division much-needed K-T training before their cars kill more people.

Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,


**Kepner-Tregoe management strategies are almost chesslike but based upon these simple ideas:

1. Any manager's primary job is to stay aware of their area, something called SA or "Situational Analysis"
2. From this awareness, the manager notices CHANGES in his area and becomes aware of the need for PA, "Problem analysis"; DA, "Decision Analysis"; and most importantly for PPA, "Potential Problem Analysis".
3. Specific definitions of problems, decisions and potential problems must be met so that managers don't find themselves continually working at cross-purposes to reality (for example, at least 75% of the time, Rajjpuut has noticed in other companies and places that people were immediately jumping to the conclusion that they had a problem and then willy-nilly trying to solve their "problem" with, naturally disastrous results a la the Obama administration)
4. Unlike fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants management styles in which 95% of effort is involved with "fire-fighting," one nasty surprise after another, K-T managers tend to spend 80-90% of their time making decisions, training, and avoiding potential problems
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Rajjpuut Prediction Comes True:

Toyota Recalls Again Hit Lexus

For those of you looking to best understand the world of business and management across all human endeavor in and outside of business, government, education, etc., Rajjpuut highly recommends the book “The Rational Manager” (or its update “The New Rational Manager) by Kepner-Tregoe, Inc. A month ago when he predicted that Toyota’s new campaign to win people’s trust back would fail and that its random acceleration and steering problems were NOT actually fixed, Rajjpuut based his thinking on Kepner-Tregoe management principles and techniques. Lo’ and behold, now we find that Toyota problems have continued after all.

Today, Monday, May 24, 2010, Toyota executives announced the recall of 3,800 Lexus LS Sedans in order to fix a problem with the electronic (i.e. computerized) steering system. This recall comes on the heels of a 4,500 car recall in Japan last week for the same steering problems. According to Toyota sources, the Lexus steering wheel can become “off-centered” after “a specific driving maneuver” but not during “usual driving.” The Lexus steering wheel, controlled by a computer will purportedly be a quick and free fix. Again, just as in the computerized braking system failure, Toyota is NOT revealing exactly what’s gone wrong and exactly how it’ll be fixed. Based upon Rajjpuut’s understanding of K-T management systems, he won’t be buying any Toyota’s in the near future.

The Kepner-Tregoe system provides an overview of the management process as “situation analysis.” Once the situation is analyzed as either a problem to be solved; a decision that needs to be made; or an ongoing program or direction that needs to be safe-guarded from failure (PA, DA, PPA in K-T lingo), the manager uses specific K-T processes to answer the demands created by the situation. What struck Rajjpuut about the Lexus situation is

A. Another system controlled by computers is now malfunctioning for Toyota

B. Toyota never has precisely defined the original problem with its braking system and never said precisely how that problem was being repaired.

C. Toyota repeatedly has claimed the brake system snafu is a “mechanical problem” but has repeatedly shown itself unable to precisely explain what that problem is

D. Congressional hearings with Toyota were most unhelpful, apparently the congressmen have no idea of how best to efficiently question a manufacturing firm about problems with manufacturing processes or results.

E. Toyota has obstinately refused to allow for the possibility that something related to the computer or spurious signals “could NOT” be causing the problems.

So Rajjpuut’s newest prediction: the current braking and steering problems will continue to haunt Toyota. Do NOT expect Toyota’s to re-emerge as a trusted and safe and desirable part of the new car picture until: they can name and can demonstrate before an impartial reviewer the precise problem with their electronic braking; and electronic steering . . . which means Toyota can create the problem on demand and demonstrate the cause; and they then produce a “fix” that refutes the problem situation which also can be demonstrated. Until such a time arrives, all Toyota advertising and promising has to be considered nothing more than wishful thinking. Stay safe!

Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,


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