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Competitive Advantage Case Study

Case Title:

Competitive Advantages of Japanese Automobile Manufacturers

Publication Year : 2004

Authors: Hansa Iyengar, Sumit Kumar Chaudhuri

Industry: Automobiles


Case Code: CCA0006

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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Despite a late entry in the global automobile industry and the devastation caused by the two World Wars, Japan's automobile industry witnessed a rapid growth that transformed the country into the world's leading automobile manufacturer by the turn of the 21st century. One of the major reasons behind this success had been the radical Japanese production system, devised by Taiichi Ohno of the Toyota Motor Company. The 'Toyota Production System' or the 'Lean Production System', as it was called, focused on the elimination of waste at every step of the manufacturing process, empowered employees to take decisions for solving problems and helped to build conducive relations between the manufacturers and their suppliers. This resulted in a slew of high quality, low cost cars from Japan that put enormous competitive pressures on carmakers from other nations, especially the 'Big Three' (GM, Ford and Chrysler) of the US.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the competitive advantages of the Japanese Lean production system, which resulted in the production of high quality, low cost cars
  • To discuss how Japanese manufactures gave competition to the ‘Big Three’ of US

Keywords :  Toyota production system; Lean production; Toyota; Honda; Nissan; Japanese automobile industry; Kanban; Big three; Mass production; Core Competency & Competitive Advantage Case Study; Lean supply chain; Benefits of lean production; Philosophy behind Toyota production system (TPS); Lean design and development; Kaizen; Just-in-time

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