Toyota's new system will work almost exactly the same as Domino's Pizza Tracker.
Automotive manufacturing facilities have been under a lot of strain ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Plants across the world have been subjected to temporary closures due to viral outbreaks but the main struggle has been maintaining quotas without the adequate supply of semiconductors. One manufacturer that has suffered from this to a great extent is Toyota, which has been forced to halt production at its global facilities for several reasons, one of which was a recent cyber attack.
As you can imagine, customers have become irate as their expected delivery times for custom specifications are extended. The waiting lists for non-exclusive mass-produced cars are increasing too. Now that the Japanese brand has released high-demand products like the all-new Toyota Tundra, it's going to need to find a way to alleviate tensions amongst customers, and Project ETA is the answer.
In a bid to improve communication between the manufacturer and customer, Toyota will soon be launching a functionality that will allow future owners to track their cars on the production line. This is a similar system to what you would use to track delivery through online purchases made via Amazon or other eCommerce sites.
As detailed by Automotive News, we can expect this service to be introduced to Toyota and Lexus dealers by this Summer. The feature will be presented to its network on March 13 at the company's National Automobile Dealers Association. Vice president for supply chain management at Toyota Motor North America Keith Robertson explains that the main goal for this new system is to improve transparency between the company and customer.
With Project ETA, customers will be treated to frequent updates of where their car is in the production phase. If there are any delays, prompt notifications regarding the situation will be provided. Robertson says, "We actually have been talking about it for more than two to three years - even before COVID - but once COVID hit and the inventories became tighter, it became more and more apparent to us that we need to shore up our order-to-delivery ETA processes."
Robertson explains that the system will work almost exactly like the Domino's Pizza Tracker. Using the interface, each step of the vehicle's assembly, from the arrival at the railhead to the point where it is loaded up onto the truck for delivery, will be available to the consumer. If a delay occurs, the system will explain to the customer what it has been caused by, be it a shortage of components, bad weather, or other factors.
Robertson adds, "Getting that visibility to the dealers and putting it in a way that's transparent is a huge step for us. The data has always been there; it's just not very user-friendly, so we're making it more user-friendly so that anyone at the dealership will be able to show a customer, and the customer can visually see the flow of the vehicle."
Head of the Toyota National Dealer Advisory Council Danny Wilson insists that Toyota customers have been patient over the last two years because its dealer network has been honest and transparent while providing frequent updates, which is surely commendable, and this new system is sure to improve on that relationship.