What is Customer First Confirmation Day?

Six years ago, amid the turmoil of a congressional hearing, it started with Akio Toyoda. Now, it depends on you.

February 24, 2016

Congressional Crucible -- TMC President Akio Toyoda (left) confers with TMS Executive Advisor Yoshimi Inaba during a hearing with the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on February 24, 2010.

What is Customer First Confirmation Day? If you’ve joined Toyota since 2010, you might not be aware of its origins. If you were with the company back then, you might prefer to forget.
 
But Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation, wants to make sure we all remember. In fact, that’s the point of setting February 24 apart from the normal business flow.

First, a quick history lesson: On February 24, 2010, Toyoda testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform regarding concerns about unintended acceleration events associated with Toyota vehicles. While answering tough questions under the glare of the international media spotlight, Toyoda said, “Toyota’s priority has traditionally been the following: first, safety; second, quality; third, volume. These priorities became confused and we were not able to stop, think and make improvements as much as we were able to before. And our basic stance to listen to the customer’s voice to make better products has weakened somewhat.”
 
A year later, Toyoda established Customer First Confirmation Day to never forget the lessons learned in the past and to remind all team members to keep our customers foremost in mind as we move into the future.
 
How, exactly, will this happen? It’s left to each work group to determine how best to pause, reflect and recommend a renewed commitment to the customer. Ultimately, though, it will be your individual initiative—in collaboration with that of your fellow team members—that will transform this break in the action into a concrete action plan.
 
As Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz said a year ago, “This is a day to think about how each of us, in our everyday work, can contribute to putting the customer first. Nothing is more powerful than your personal involvement, your personal reflection on how to do this.”
 
By Dan Miller

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