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Seattle Times letters to the editor

September 2, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Efficient plant boosts Mazda manufacturing

Not the most efficient way

Robots work on the assembly line of the Mazda6 (Atenza) model at Mazda Motor Corp.'s plant in Hofu, Japan on Aug. 27. Mazda has a new super-efficient plant that is part of the reason why Mazda has managed to defy skeptics who've predicted fates ranging from bankruptcy to a buyout by Chinese interests. [AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]

Robots work on the assembly line of the Mazda6 (Atenza) model at Mazda Motor Corp.’s plant in Hofu, Japan on Aug. 27. [AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]

Your gee-whiz story about the efficient Mazda plant, leaves the reader with plenty of “so what?” questions. [“Super-efficient plant gives boost to Mazda,” Business, Aug. 28.]

Does the “stunning rate” of one car every 54 seconds on the assembly line produce better quality and fewer line stoppages? Going at a pell-mell pace usually has opposite effects.

Lower costs? The hardware and engineering costs add up fast when trying to shoehorn many models into a single superfast line.

Why is Mazda now going to transfer this costly complex technology to its new plant in Mexico? Wouldn’t it be better to dedicate each of its plants to a limited set of models, thereby greatly simplifying nearly every aspect of planning and production?

Richard Schonberger, Bellevue

Comments | More in Business, Economy | Topics: costs, efficiency, japan

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