Japanese auto giant Toyota has blamed a shutdown of all its factories in Japan last week on a system malfunction caused by “insufficient disk space”. The world’s top-selling automaker said the one-day stoppage on August 29 at all 14 of its domestic plants happened after servers that process parts orders broke down following a maintenance procedure.
The company stated that the incident “was not caused by a cyberattack,” which was a preliminary finding. In an official statement, Toyota explained that during this operation:
“Data that had accumulated in the database was deleted and organized, and an error occurred due to insufficient disk space, causing the system to stop.”
Toyota claimed that the system had been restored after the data was moved to a server with more storage space, allowing it to resume production at the plants the following day. The plants collectively produce about a third of all the cars made by the automaker worldwide. In the statement, the world’s top-selling automaker apologized to its customers:
“We would like to apologize once again to our customers, suppliers, and related parties for any inconvenience caused by the suspension of our domestic plants.”
Toyota is famous for its “just-in-time” production system of providing only small deliveries of necessary parts and other items at various steps of the assembly process. This practice minimizes costs while improving efficiency and is studied by other manufacturers and business schools around the world, but also comes with risks such as the above. According to Toyota:
“We will review our maintenance procedures and strengthen our efforts to prevent a recurrence so that we can deliver as many vehicles to our customers as soon as possible.”
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