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Question: Critically evaluate the relevant areas of the Balance Score Card (BSC) and how these could support Tesla with their competitive strategy and emerging markets

17 Mar 2024,9:47 AM


Assessment Task 1 Details


You are required to research Tesla, to understand their current position in the market and their current stance on quality within the business as a whole. Here are two articles to get you started:


Tesla is diving deeper into automated quality control to fix ongoing build problems

Rob Stumpf (23rd January 2023)

Link: Tesla Article 1


Tesla hasn't exactly had a glowing reputation regarding quality control. Whether missing suspension bolts, panel gaps, glass roofs flying off, or crucial components cobbled together with fake wood, there seems to be a stigma that the company can't quite shake. It seems like these items should be something that an automaker has addressed after nearly 15 years of building cars, right?


Well, better late than never, apparently. Tesla is working to implement new automated quality control measures to address its ongoing quality issues.



via Tesla


Tesla has previously listed an open position on its employment site for a "Quality Inspection Engineer." The job description states that the candidate would be part of Tesla's Vision Automation team. Specifically, the position will "contribute to Tesla’s in-house efforts to purpose-build automated inspection systems."


The job description hints that Tesla already has some of these automated inspection systems in its arsenal, though the effectiveness of these systems may have room for improvement—something the candidate is responsible for finding and contributing to.

In addition to the job posting, Teslarati recently uncovered a permit application filed by Tesla to install an “Automatic Inspection System" at its facility in Fremont, California. The permit states that it is for the “[i]nstallation of power and structural anchorage to support two new robots required to automate fascia inspection.”


This isn't the first time that Tesla has dabbled in automation. After all, the company has set out to solve its flavor of full self-driving. This extends to the factory floor, where Tesla has previously heavily relied on robots to build its cars. CEO Elon Musk said in 2018 that this reliance on robots and automation was "excessive" and a "mistake," even going as far as to call humans "underrated" in the automobile building process.


Whether robots will fix Tesla's ongoing quality control problems may take some time. For now, several pre-delivery checklists exist for customers who plan to assess whether their would-be vehicle has been properly QC-checked at the factory. Ideally, the problems outlined in these checklists would be resolved before the vehicle made its way to the consumer. That may one day happen using Tesla's improved automated quality control assessment tech.


Elon Musk admits Tesla has quality problems - CNN

Chris Isidore (3rd February 2021)

Link: Tesla Article 2


Critics have slammed Tesla for Model 3 quality issues for years. And now CEO Elon Musk is admitting even his harshest critic was right. In early 2018 engineering consultant Sandy Munro, who tears apart and reverse-engineers’ cars to assess quality, issued a brutal appraisal of the Model 3 citing "flaws that we would see on a Kia in the '90s." He noted inconsistencies such as uneven gaps between exterior panels and paint job issues, telling Autoline, "I can't imagine how they released this."

Surprisingly Musk, who has often bristled at criticism, agrees. "I thought your criticism was accurate," Musk told Munro in an interview that aired Tuesday on the YouTube channel and podcast "Munro Live." In the interview Musk also admitted that it might not be a good idea to buy a Tesla during a new model's ramp-up period. Munro's "Kia" critique came when Tesla was still struggling to meet early production targets for the Model 3.

Musk's admission is quite a warning considering that the company is getting ready to start production of the Cybertruck pickup late this year, and is set to open new plants outside of Austin, Texas, and Berlin, Germany.

"Friends ask, 'When should I buy a Tesla?'" Musk said. "Well, either buy it right at the beginning or when production reaches steady state. During that production ramp, it's super hard to be in vertical climb mode and get everything right on the details."

Munro also questioned Musk about quality control problems more recently. He bought a 2021 Model 3 late last year and compared it to a Model 3 someone else purchased a month later -- and saw significant improvement. "At the end of the day, this guy's car was fabulous ... as good as anybody could possibly do," Munro said. "I just don't understand. Mine was built this month, his was built a month later. Mine had problems. His was perfect."

Musk said Tesla continued to make progress even as recently as December of last year, noting that the company is finding issues more quickly as the pace of production continues to speed up. "When you go faster, you just discover these things," he said. "If we knew them in advance, we'd fix them in advance." Tesla recalls 135,000 cars after pushing back against regulators

Musk also discussed some other challenges that the company has previously experienced. After Munro praised the seats in the Model 3 as the most comfortable, he has ever experienced in a car, Musk volunteered that he used to refer to the seat in the early Model S, one of the company's first vehicles, as a "stone toadstool."

"The early Model Ss probably had the worst seat of any car I ever sat in," Musk said. Munro isn't the only one to highlight quality control problems at Tesla. Consumer Reports, which has praised the design of many Tesla models, said poor quality control -- including hair embedded in paint jobs -- meant it could not recommend its newest vehicle, the Model Y SUV. Of the four vehicles Tesla currently sells, only the Model 3 has the coveted "recommended" rating from Consumer Reports, although it briefly lost that designation in early 2019.



Tesla Assignment Requirements:

As a management consultant, you have been asked to analyse Tesla’s performance:


  1. Identify which key principles/areas/systems of Total Quality Management and how this can be used to address the current issues Tesla are facing as per the articles above and any other relevant information you find.


                                                                     (40% - approximately 850 words)


  1. Critically evaluate the relevant areas of the Balance Score Card (BSC) and how these could support Tesla with their competitive strategy and emerging markets. 


 (50% - approximately 1150 words)

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