Recent Toyota QC Circle Example

I recently ran across an example of a QC Circle presentation from Toyota Motor Corporation. This was one of the award winning presentations at the corporate level that came from my former engine plant. Things have changed since I left the company! When I worked for Toyota QC Circle presentations were still being done either on flip charts or on overhead projectors. Today of course laptops have been a presence in the work site for quite some time and this technology has influenced how presentations are made. Things have apparently gotten a lot fancier?

QC Circles are a basic method in Toyota used for developing employees in the basics of problem solving and eliminating some problems in the employees realm of control. The steps for QC Circles follow the logic of Plan-Do-Check-Act just as A3 reports do as well. QC Circle reports however are usually not summarized onto a single page in order to allow the members to present more detail. Typically the QC Circle reports include but are not limited to:

  1. Title
  2. Member Introduction
  3. Background and Context
  4. Reasons for Selection
  5. Current Situation
  6. Goal for the Project
  7. Analysis of the Problem
  8. Countermeasures
  9. Plan for Implementation
  10. Results and Confirmation of Effect
  11. Remaining Steps and Standardization
  12. Reflection Points

Here is an example of an award winning presentation at a plant wide competition from a couple of years ago. It contains 24 presentation slides which I thought was somewhat excessive. However I must admit the level of detail and accomplishment was very impressive. The content is in Japanese so it probably won’t help many people. I’ll translate the headings which will appear below each image. For more detail click on each picture and you should see a few more words of description if interested. There is not enough room to fully translate the images but this summary should help you get the high level picture at least of what production teams do inside of Toyota in a QC circle activity.

In short the team achieved their goal of reducing the amount of concentration variation in the coolant tanks. This in turn reduced defects in machining and eliminated tool breakage problems on the machines as well. In addition the team increased their own knowledge about the importance of coolant in the machining of the component. Lastly they improved their morale and confidence to do other such improvements in their work area. The results of this effort were also communicated to other areas in the company to capture the gains.

Toyota has been engaged in QC Circles since the early 1960′s as part of their TQC program. This group of production team members in the activity outlined above probably had experience levels of anywhere from one to ten years in the company. After 50 years of similar ongoing improvements Toyota is at such a stage that 0.05% defect levels in machining are deemed “problematic” and worth of efforts such as this one.

8 comments to Recent Toyota QC Circle Example

  • Many thanks. You have confirmed what I thought had transpired. Planning a 2nd edition to provide some modern application? We’re off and running on our methods and enjoying every step. Functioning as the “facilitator” has many chalenges since I have to facilitate the Sr. Managers just as much as the line Supervisors/employees. Thanks again.

  • Dear Sir, may I know when is the above circle project being presented, as you only mention ‘a couple of years ago’. Thanks.

    There is no date on the presentation. When I was given it a couple of years ago I was told it was a year or two old. Probably dates to around 2007 ish but I don’t know for certain.

  • Kailash N Anand

    i am interested in knowing about the present status of QC Circle activities in Japanese establishment -such as number of active circle industrywise and benefits reaped in previous years

    Your best bet is to contact the JUSE in Japan. They have several conferences per year that pertain to QC circles and related activities.

    Upcoming conferences in Japan

  • Ajay Kumar Singh

    Dear Sir, can i get a sample copy of the circle project!

    Actually we are no longer in possession of the original document. Each paged was copied and scanned in as a jpeg file. If you double click on the image it should appear as a reasonably sized item. Left click on the image and you should be able to download a file for each page. That is the only option I can suggest at this point.

  • Paul Quesada

    Someone should point out (I’ll do it) that above slide presentation, while it does indeed parallel the A3 report, obviously does not serve the same or similar funtion.

    Edit Note: As clearly noted in the explanatory text above this is a QC Circle Presentation and not an A3 problem solving report. QC circle activities date to the early 1960′s inside Toyota and are aimed specifically at Quality topics tackled by production teams. Both are derived from the basic PDCA cycle of problem solving as pointed out above in the summary text.


    The slide presentation contains no information whatsoever regarding the Implementation Plan (although the author of the accompanying post erroneously claims, in item No. 9 of his written outline, that the slide presention will indeed contain that information).

    Edit Note. Your observation is incorrect….In general the 12 steps listed above in the summary are often used. However there is no rule that the detailed action plans are included especially in final presentations such as this one. However you are incorrect in stating that “no information whatsoever” is included regarding the implementation plan. The countermeasure (対策実施) items implemented are contained in slides 14, 16, 17, 18, & 19 if you read the actual titles of the slides and the contents.
    Countermeasures implemented


    This slide presention appears to be more of a Hansei activity, ie. summary and/or reflection.
    I’d think that distinction is crucial.

    Edit Note: Actually this is not a reflection or Hansei type of activity or reflection report. It is one of the award winning QC circle presentations from an annual QC competition. The reflection points (反省) are limited to a few comments in slide 23 of the presentation.

  • [...] CpK range. Of course however problems still happen even with that level of capability. Here is a link to a Quality Control Circle presentation from a year or two ago that tackles a process with a 0.05% scrap problem on a connecting rod line [...]

  • Tan Back Chooi

    Dear Sir,

    Do you have the evaluation Guidelines for evaluating through the QC circle process? If Yes, can I get a copy from you? Thanks.


  • admin

    Unfortunately we do not…you might look for some publications on this topic through Productivity Press or translations of documents from the Japan Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE).

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