"Pursuing Improvements Rooted in the Genba"--President Sato Resolute on Certification Issues


Before facing shareholders' questions, President Koji Sato once again apologized for the recent certification issues, pledging to "tackle them in the genba, one by one."

Everyone pulling together

Deputy Chief Officer Yanagi

Immediately after the Hino case, the development and certification (divisions) worked together to carefully review models within a set period from 2017 onwards. I spent a considerable amount of time engaging with various genba members as we conducted the investigation.

First, I checked in with each person to see how things were going in the areas they oversaw.

In the process, I came to understand that mistakes may occur and, as I mentioned at the press conference, that the areas we checked may not have been enough, given the number of people involved.

Together, we set out to delve deeper and, through things like the TPS Jishuken, check on some different aspects. We pulled apart the processes and worked to see if there were any problems lying under the surface.

Along the way, cases arose at Hino, Daihatsu, Industries, and now at Toyota as well, and we are sorry for the concern this has caused.

Although the latest instruction to go back ten years could probably have come a little earlier, we are now looking back carefully again over the past decade.

We have spent the last three or four months reviewing, one by one, the things that were lacking then but have since been fixed, as well as the things that may still pose risks today. This has involved not just looking at the data and documents but going to the genba and speaking with various members, everyone pulling together—the leadership, management, and the people on the ground—to find out how things are being done.

We are also taking on new development challenges in an effort to bring greater joy to our customers.

While we still have much work to do, the genba and the company are working together to ensure that we can solve any issues that arise. And if issues are uncovered, we will use them as an opportunity to learn, as we have this time, and strive earnestly, honestly, and humbly to make improvements.

Following on from Deputy Chief Officer Yanagi, President Sato again took up the microphone. “We need a multifaceted approach for dealing with these certification issues,” he began before adding:

President Sato

As I indicated earlier, Chairman Toyoda is leading the way in first reforming the underlying culture.

This process will take a great deal of time. We need to create an environment where people can properly speak their minds and where the work is done correctly according to procedures.

It’s difficult to say when this might be realized completely, but I believe these efforts absolutely must be undertaken.

President Sato closed by expressing his determination: “I too will be rolling up my sleeves to tackle these issues in the genba, one by one.”