The 2005 Vision also pushed Toyota to implement kakushin, or revolutionary innovations, in vehicle design and manufacturing. That included efficiency drives to reduce costs, not only through conventional means, such as simplifying designs and using cheaper materials, but also by changing the way cars are engineered. For example, engineers were pushed to combine functions into fewer parts and systems. Their aim: cut the number of components in a car by half.
Talking to engineers and mid-level executives, Mr. Toyoda said the rapid expansion exceeded the company's ability to assure the quality and reliability of each model. He called on the engineers, seated inside an auditorium at Toyota's global headquarters, to shift their mindset and attain the "resolve to make a big turn from emphasizing volume to quality," according to a summary of the speech reviewed by the Journal.
The nonfamily executives acknowledge they made some mistakes. One says a large number of inexperienced contract engineers hired from outside agencies—an effort to save money as they tried to boost engineering capacity—led to at least some of the increase in quality glitches.So, in summary, the "Toyota way" gave way to the "GM way", and maybe the "GE way" (in the case of contract engineers, which is a current trend in many companies.)