OMG. Just goes to show how hard it is for management to remain focused on the fundamentals that brought them success. Bill Waddell found a news item where Toyota has added extra layers of inspectors in order to improved quality instead of focusing on root causes and empowering everyone in the pursuit of quality.

This stuff isn’t new. In 1980 I became a quality assurance manager and started reading Deming among others. We had no inspectors–but not so much quality either. I hired one person for incoming inspection. Even though I’m not a genius, I figured what we needed was a standard for the appropriate quality of each product. Then we publish it, train the operators (the people who actually made the stuff, and who, by the way, generally wanted to make quality products they could be proud of) and empower them to set aside inferior products for evaluation and follow up. But that took commitment from the management team. I’m not that “political” and especially not back when I was a pup.

So what in the world happened to Toyota?

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