Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jim Lentz and a kitchen sinkful of dirty dishes

Spaghetti sauce hardening on a sinkful of dirty dishes

In Car and Driver, Aaron Robinson tells some truth:

Toyota runs away from a kitchen sinkful of dishes

....Jim Lentz said he was instructed by president and CEO Akio Toyoda to build a company for the next 50 years, and dadgummit, he’s doing it in Texas.
When my wife, Tina, heard that, she rolled her eyes. Full disclosure: We moved to Torrance from Michigan back in 2004 so that Tina could take a job at Toyota Financial Services. As with almost all the eager professionals recruited with her from other industries, she didn’t last long. Massive profits cloaked a hidebound, risk-averse culture that had gridlocked initiative and produced intellectual stagnation. Whenever something needed to be done, managers simply called meetings in which decisions were postponed to later meetings. Nobody seemed to be in charge, and bad managers were free to build dismally tyrannical fiefdoms in which high employee turnover was allowed to bleed the company of millions in recruiting costs. Friends still working there report little change. It’s almost impossible to be fired; Toyota just shifts its worst cases into new jobs where their incompetence becomes somebody else’s problem. Now that he’s let the laundry pile up and the sink fill with dirty dishes, Lentz has decided to just sell the house and move.
Will things be any different in Plano, or will the same rot continue but with lower costs?

Mr. Sakakibara, a senior executive, revealed a similar truth about Toyota's company culture in Japan. Stifling. And he begged Mr. Toyoda and others to do something about it.

Betsy asks:  To what extent does the hardened crud stop people from identifying and reporting on serious safety problems like, for example, those created by spaghetti code? is also my personal theory that the earthquake risk is one unspoken reason for Toyota's departure from Torrance. After the tsunami in Japan they are not about to bet the US company on the quietude of California's earthquake zone.