If quality is first, it drives a certain set of behaviors. If market
share is the goal, it drives a different set of behaviours…
Even as Toyota was catching up to No.1, their reputation was slipping…
The parable of Toyota may be that the tortoise became the hare. Over decades, Toyota built its reputation and market share in tiny increments through its renowned “continuous improvement” method. In the Toyota mantra, quality was always first, because it led to lower costs, which would eventually lead to higher market share. Eventually.
But in the ’90s, Toyota set out to become the world’s top auto company. Being the best and being the biggest created a tension
that Toyota couldn’t resolve, says MIT operations expert Steven Spear:
“If quality is first, it drives a certain set of behaviors. If market
share is the goal, it drives a different set of behaviors.”
the “Toyota way” … was diluted by the demands of production. “Even in
the late ’90s, people in Toyota would say, ‘This is going to bite us in
the ass,’ ” says Spear. “They just didn’t know when.”
Now they do. …. Toyota will fix its manufacturing problem. Restoring its reputation is going to take a lot longer.