Hyundai’s Definition of Quality

Business Week ran an article about some of Hyundai’s recent problems. One of them seems to be a misguided quality program. Although the article says that,

In recent years, no other major automaker has boosted sales and quality as fast the the Korean company.

The article later goes on to say that Hyundai’s idea of quality is not Lean.

Rather than improving the way it makes cars to minimize defects à la Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai stepped up inspections and testing. The result: It needs two-thirds more man-hours to build each car than Nissan and Toyota do.

This is a great example of focusing on local optima (great quality) at the expense of systematic improvements (continuous improvement of the manufacturing process and lower costs).

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