Musings on decisions and factors that drive them.
Flavor of actions
Sat, Apr 29 2000 04:00
The "cash for clunkers" program stimulated the Asian automakers more than our own. Although the nation gave 700,000 people a break on a car purchase, did the program meet the objective of creating American jobs? Was significant progress made towards the objective to eliminate the nation's dependency on foreign oil? Has it helped the U.S. economy get back on track for sustained growth? Did this bit of news surprise anyone?
Actions that are undertaken without assessment in terms of a complete set of weighted objectives, usually have a small positive effect for a few, often for merely the near term only. Rarely do they live up to the expectations of the many.
At this juncture, it would be wise for the Big Three to document and weight the criteria by which automotive customers decided to buy Toyotas over American-made cars. Additionally, these customers should be asked what their criteria will be for their NEXT purchase five years from now. The manufacturers need to align their processes to produce with an eye to satisfying such criteria, as weighted by the customer.
Of course, this should have been done decades ago (the 1980s) when "Japanese manufacturing" was the buzzword rage and American CEOs from all industries were heading to Toyota to personally "drink from the well." The pity has been that the returning manufacturing pilgrims seemed to have learned new buzzwords, and merely "talked the talk." Programs were implemented instead of needed cultural changes in thinking. Each succeeding generation used but a new name for the same good ideas, countering their actual effectiveness by inadvertently causing them to be viewed as "flavors-of-the-month." "Quality," "CQI," "Lean," etc. With "spin" being manufactured, the products themselves fell behind.
With only words changing, did anyone really expect something different?