TO THE EDITOR:
The longer one has worked in the automotive industry, the more “Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant road-tests a new quality strategy” (autonews.com, May 1) seems like the movie Groundhog Day.
For many vehicle generations, Ford has “reinvented” its approach to quality and manufacturing. Stopping the production line to correct problems, rather than building in problems and (maybe) correcting them later, is part of what one would expect in a Quality 101 course. Even the industry’s slowest learners should have picked up that practice, and much more, by 1990 when The Machine That Changed the World, the seminal study of Toyota quality and production methods, was published.
Why does it seem as though Ford Motor Co. has introduced and then forgotten, then reintroduced and forgotten again, this and many other quality practices? Perhaps that helps explain Ford’s decadeslong struggle with the launch of so many models.
The need to achieve a clean launch is critical to the business. Imagine what a company could do with even a fraction of the $4.17 billion Ford spent on warranty claims last year.
ROBERT SHARP, Rochester, Mich.
The writer is a retired general manager of Automotive Marketing Services Inc., providing marketing, product strategy and sales and service training for automakers.