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Reference no. 9-693-019
Prize winner
Published by:
Harvard Business Publishing (1992)
5 September 1995
22 pages
Data source:
Field research


On May 1, 1992, Doug Friesen, manager of assembly for Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, faces a problem with the seats installed in the plant's sole product-Camrys. A growing number of cars are sitting offline with defective seats or are missing them entirely. This situation is one of several causes of recent overtime, yet neither the reason for the problem nor a solution is readily apparent. As the plant is an exemplar of Toyota's famed production system (TPS), Friesen is determined that, if possible, the situation will be resolved using TPS principles and tools. Students are asked to suggest what action(s) Friesen should take and to analyze whether Georgetown's current handling of the seat problem fits within the TPS philosophy.


Production controls; Quality control; International operations; Suppliers; Process analysis
USD1-5 billion revenues, 4,000 employees
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