Thao Tran

Cal Poly students taking industrial technology 303, industrial quality assurance, have the opportunity to work with Toyota this quarter in a hands-on approach to learning about quality assurance.

“It’s special because a world class company is willing to share training material to the class,” industrial technology professor Eric Olsen said. “Toyota provided model cars with electric motors and wheels for the students to work with.”

During the summer, College of Business Dean Dave Christy and Olsen were invited to the University of Toyota to observe a class taught to Toyota employees.

As a result, the Cal Poly College of Business and the University of Toyota created an outreach “generation-type program” that joined the quality assurance class from Cal Poly with Toyota’s training class.

University of Toyota Associate Dean, Joe Kane gave a presentation to the class about the quality assurance industry and where it may be headed in the future. Kane also provided the class with books from Toyota like, “The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer.”

“Toyota is the best example in the world for quality and assurance,” Olsen said. “They are world renowned for their quality and production system.”

According to a Harvard Business Review, Toyota has repeatedly outperformed its competitors in quality, reliability, productivity, cost reduction, sales, market share growth and market capitalization.

Industrial technology 303 teaches the principles of quality assurance along with techniques as applied to organizations. The class emphasizes competitive implications with the integration of fundamental quality assurance techniques and new quality techniques.

“It’s a good experience to put an actual example to the concepts and things you have learned in class,” food science junior Pamela Quok said. “It’s difficult if you don’t have anything to apply it to.”

The Toyota project helped students build leaner outlooks when developing processes, which means, less inventory, less management and less waste.

According to a review written by James P. Womack, president of the Lean Enterprise Institute, “lean production transformed manufacturing. By minimizing customers’ time and effort and delivering exactly what they want, where and when they want it, companies can reap huge benefits.”

“It’s essentially doing the same job with less waste,” Olsen said.

The class was separated into two teams to represent factories after experimenting several different techniques and approaches to manufacturing, they then determined which process worked best.

“We’re kind of ahead of anyone else in the working industry because we’re learning directly from the source,” said industrial technology sophomore Kara Dale said.

Olsen says the class helps students gain better insight into connect with the real world.

“It’s another example of Cal Poly going beyond the bounds,” Olsen said.

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