Sometimes it is not enough to merely have a supplier

Sometimes it is not enough to merely have a supplier performance measurement system in place. The buyer must also ensure that the performance data is accurate and all encompassing. Any given supplier may be able to manipulate or falsify the product performance data that it provides to its customers.
Koito Industries Ltd, a Japanese aircraft seat supplier based in Yokohama, admitted to irregularities in certain safety testing data regarding approximately 150,000 aircraft passenger seats supplied to Airbus SAS and Boeing Co., ultimately impacting some 32 airlines worldwide.

Due to growing demand of its aircraft passenger seats that had resulted in extremely tight production schedules, Koito utilised a computer program that created false safety data to meet standards regarding seat safety strength. In addition, some safety tests were omitted in their entirety, and in other cases safety data came from tests conducted on different production lots. The Japanese Transport Ministry determined that Koito altered its computer testing programs so that seat shock levels would read higher than they actually were. Additionally, some aircraft seat designs were unilaterally modified without proper notification. This erroneous safety data was revealed only when a whistle-blower made the information available publicly.

As a result of this scandal, the president of Koito Industries made a public apology and promised to retest all of the aircraft seats in question, repairing or replacing by the end of the year those that did not meet safety requirements. In addition, he admitted that falsification activities had dated back to the mid-90s andhad been ongoing “organizational culture” emanating from the department which oversaw the testing.The European Aviation Safety Industry (EASI) pulled its approval for Koito seats and contemplated issuing an airworthiness directive (AD). The net effect was that Airbus was unable to meet delivery dates for certain aircraft equipped with Koito-sourced seats. For example, Airbus had to delay delivery of SingaporeAirlines’11th A-380 and indicated that about 2 per cent of the global Airbus fleet were equipped with Koito- sourced seats. In addition, delivery of Boeing aircraft, such as the 777-300ER, was affected as well. Some of the other airlines affected included: Japan Airlines, Air Canada, KLM, All Nippon Airlines, Thai Airways

International, and Scandinavian Airlines. In addition to affecting new aircraft production, substantial delays in retrofitting and updating existing aircraft have also occurred.
Due to its large number of affected aircraft, including Koito seats installed in first, business and premium economy, and economy classes, Boeing was affected more severely than was Airbus. Therefore, Boeing sent a supplier development team to Koito to assist in reviewing and redeploying its quality management system. In addition, Boeing has had to work individually with each affected airline customers to ensure that no safety of flight issues existed.

Your airline was one of the affected organisations by the Koito problem. Discuss both the quantitative and qualitative variables you would have considered when measuring the performance of Koito industries to avoid the problems caused. ?


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