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There is simply no rational for the CEO of Toyota to agree to an “inquiry” by special interest driven congress members. With one exception, there is nor should there ever be a congressional oversight board reviewing how business is conducted including how business problems are being handled. That exception is an obvious violation of the constitution.
The US Congress has already demonstrated massive incompetence in fiscal responsibility so what the hell do they think they are about to accomplish by putting a legitimate business on trial. The US Congress does not even know what they are doing yet alone evaluate what someone else is doing. Members of Congress may know how to drive a car but that does not mean they know how to manage a car company. Haven’t they learned from the GM fiasco where we the American people have allowed our President and Congress to drive up the deficit by bailing out a company that has sunk so deep the American taxpayers will not be repaid in full.
Damage control is now the number one priority for Toyota and they don’t need a committee that is from a Congress whose idea of damage control is to hold a politically based public view of questions prepared by people who are not even members of Congress. It solves nothing. Toyota has problems. There is an obvious quality control problem and a cultural problem. The cultural problem is obvious from their lack of aggressive communication and damage control related to defects. The marketplace will actually sort this out not the US congress.
As for Toyota, it is amazing that in 2010 an international business seems void of sound damage control and public relations practices. There are numerous examples that serve as best practices guides when a company is involved in a negative situation. One I often point to as a great positive example is the way Johnson & Johnson handled the Tylenol recall in 1982. However, even they may have forgotten how well and fast they recovered from that episode since more recently there is increasing evidence Johnson & Johnson did not react as fast or well to problems with certain products recalled earlier this year.
Companies like Toyota, Johnson & Johnson normally have policies in place that define the quality standards and quality culture of the business. They also have boards that have fiduciary responsibility to ensure executives running the business are doing their job in all areas including quality. An effective management system includes regularly addressing how the quality culture and standards are implemented and not just “dust collectors” on company shelves. Product problems do not universally mean there is a general breakdown in quality control. However, it is clear the quality related management system for Toyota and maybe for Johnson & Johnson either no longer in place or broken.
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About: Steve Pohlit is a CPA,MBA and has been the CFO of several major domestic and international companies. Steve is a business owner and an expert business consultant focused on building profits and net asset value. He is very experienced with Internet marketing and social media marketing. All articles published by Steve unless specifically restricted may be freely published with this resource information.