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Could SOA Help Prevent Debacles Such as the Toyota Pedal Recall?

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Joe McKendrick: One of the goals of effective SOA is to facilitate seamless sharing of data and applications between companies and business partners. Could service-oriented architecture help prevent or alleviate corporate debacles, such as the Toyota pedal recall?

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  • I'm sure SOA couldn't hurt, but I get the feeling this issue is more closely related to CAD/CAM and PLM systems than anything else. But without a deeper understanding of Toyota's design and manufacturing supply chain it's all guessing (e.g. if one team/firm had the responsibility to manufacture the entire gas pedal assembly working with a handful of sub-suppliers the integration issue is mostly moot).

  • Absolutely!!!

    After all, wasn't one of the initial goals of SOA to solve world hunger? Oh, and another one, achieve world peace?

    Actually, I don't even have a clue! :)

  • This is stretching the point. SOA alone would not have saved Toyota from problems caused by relentless scale-up that overwhelmed their classic production system and process.

    That said, a more model-based approach, which could involve design of loosely coupled services, might help in development of parts/subsystems that are more amenable to upgrade.

  • "Solving world hunger" is exactly what immediately came to my mind as I was reading the original question. No wonder many people think that SOA is nothing but hype ...

  • For the following years I will be satisfied with SOA solving the problems it was designed for in the majority of the IT organizations.

  • As is being pointed out here, we don't know how much SOA would have helped Toyota, and we can assume the problems go beyond SOA. And, we don't know if SOA can solve world hunger, but it probably won't.

    HOWEVER, is it not reasonable to assume that the seamless and transparent sharing of data and services within supply chains could help ensure that any problems or issues in the supply chain could be quickly spotted by decision makers and engineers? Incompatible systems that require the manual transfer of information between entities -- whether inside or between organizations -- increase the potential of errors. Plus, greater automation means the credo of "lean" -- better, faster, and cheaper -- can be realized. Toyota's issue appears to stem from its rapid growth into a multi-faceted global organization with many moving parts, versus, its original state of a tight-knit family-oriented company.

  • IT governance would have helped in this situation - SOA is not the solution to every problem - but it is part of the solution if and when best practices and standards are being followed by those writing software.

  • Asking if SOA could help solve the Toyota Pedal recall is similar to asking if recycling will help solve Global Warming. It certainly helps but is a small cog in a much bigger wheel-- I agree with Carlos that IT governance would have helped but even more important would have been corporate governance as well as a culture of proactively checking and communicating issues as soon as they are identified with a focus on resolution, not laying the blaim.

    Business-IT alignment would help as well in terms of focusing IT investment and architecture on the highest priority and highest risk business capabilities and finally, an obsessive focus on quality would also help... but none of these things alone would solve this issue... nuf said...

  • In my opinion SOA has got nothing to do here,
    Governance , Risk & Compliance (GRC) should have been integrated and leveraged in the core business processes,
    Problem, what i gather was of the pedal being manufactured by 1 manufacturer, this could have been handled at the procurement or production order stage, where it could have been sourced from different suppliers or manufacturing units and tracked, so if a certain batch is defective we could be talking of a calculated risk of a small 5 rather that TOTAL RECALL, the basic concept is very old, "dont put all your eggs in one basket"

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