Toyota, i Richiami, e … il Project Management?

Stamattina abbiamo letto un articolo del Guardian: “Toyota to recall over a million cars in US and Japan”.

La cosa ci ha colpito molto, perché si tratta, come puntualizzato nell’articolo, del 14mo richiamo nel 2010.

Sempre nell’articolo si ricorda che nel settembre 2009 la Toyota ha richiamato quasi 4 milioni di veicoli nel mondo, e che nel febbraio 2010 “Toyota’s president apologises to the US Congress and Toyota owners for safety problems that led to deaths and the worldwide recalls”.

Ora, giusto per fugare ogni dubbio, l’articolo seguente è stato scritto molto prima di questi eventi: The “Toyota system” and its “worshippers”.

Per la precisione, l”articolo è stato scritto il 14 gennio 2009:

Today (January 14th, 2009), an influential financial newspaper published two articles, one beside the other.

Quando uscì fu molto apprezzato e ripubblicato da altri.


Ora, è difficile dire quali siano i problemi che deve affrontare la Toyota – magari non hanno niente a che fare con il project management, chi lo sa?

Però vale la pena riportare alcuni pezzi dall’articolo:

You know, at seminars we met some people who said they had tried to apply the “Toyota system” in the West but, unless they extensively modified it, results wouldn’t be acceptable.

Nonetheless, the “Toyota system” couldn’t be discussed, not really. As a result, scores of “project managers” began pronouncing those two words more and more often; it was “trendy”, you know.

Sometimes, people termed “outmoded” those competitors who hadn’t adopted the “Toyota system”.

As for us, “poor” certified Project Managers, who knew of the Western methodologies we were making use of? If one had spoken of the “Toyota system”, everyone would have been interested; if someone had spoken of Prince2, people would have looked lost.

How is it that excellent Western methodologies are forgotten to the advantage of exotic “systems”?

Because it is easy. It is easy to go to a buyer and tell him “I bring the X system; look, others are making money”.

The “Toyota system”. We have never liked it.

In our opinion, it is solely applicable to very big companies operating in the car industry or similar industries; even in that case, we think it implies unnecessary expenses (e.g., “Set Based Concurrent Engineering”) and it can be worth only in bullish times.

Moreover, in our opinion it is not a project management methodology, it is a work philosophy tailored for the Japanese mentality.

Nonetheless, at project management seminars scores of people “worship” it, refer to it and so on. Why? Because Toyota was selling scores of cars.

How often have we heard of “best practice”, which in itself is a good concept and means “take the experience of others into consideration with a pinch of salt”? Maybe one doesn’t like salt, or maybe it is easier to go to the Board and say “Look, Toyota is making money, let’s copy them!”

Whoever says “I follow the Toyota system”, says it proudly, he/she seems to say “I am making use of the best”.


Ma soprattutto:

It was once said that an ordeal would reveal the truth; nowadays, one would speak of “trial by fire”, but they have a different meaning: the latter refers to “real fighting” (for us, practical use), the former refers to a telling situation such as bad markets (or a very difficult fighting situation for a soldier).

What is the ordeal revealing?

Quanto sopra risale al gennaio 2009.

Magari i problemi della Toyota non sono dovuti al project management.

Però sappiamo bene cos’e’ un’ordalia: una prova; pollice recto o pollice verso; bianco o nero; si o no, senza considerazioni accessorie od altro; si considera solamente il risultato dell’ordalia.

Come ricordato nell’articolo: “Nonetheless, at project management seminars scores of people “worship” it, refer to it and so on. Why? Because Toyota was selling scores of cars.”

Ora, in questo momento, il momento dell’ordalia, viene spontaneo porsi ancora una volta la domanda:

What is the ordeal revealing?

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