The paper “ Toyota Motor Corporation in the US and Japan - Kaizen Management, Human Resource Development, Outsourcing Strategy, High-Tech Production” is an inspiring variant of case study on business. Based in Japan, Toyota is one of the most dominant players in the global automaker industry. The company has been credited with very comprehensive and efficient management systems that the lean production management strategy is also referred to as the Toyota way. The Toyota way is also highly linked with a Japanese management ideology called Kaizen. The Kaizen ideology calls for continuous improvement on a daily basis on the production system to reduce wastage and increase efficiency.
On the other hand, Liker and Houses say that the Toyota way is a “ highly developed approach to manufacturing and the dual concepts of just in time and built-in quality are standard operating procedures throughout manufacturing and logistics” (p 464). Through this efficient tailored management strategy, the company has been a global leader in auto sales. As of May this year, the company global sales are said to have dropped by a whopping 47% due to the financial crisis. In the US, the company operates mainly as Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales which is more of a marketing, sales, distribution and customer service arm of Toyota and its subsidiaries while the former is the manufacturing unit.
The company has an advertising unit by the name Saatchi & Saatchi. There are ten manufacturing plants in the US spread out in different states such as Alabama, Indiana and Kentucky producing mainly ten types of vehicles namely Avalon, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Camry Solara, Corolla, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra and Venza.
In 2008, the company sold more than 2.2 million vehicles. In the US the company has two independent subsidiaries, Lexus and Scion (Toyota Pressroom). Though the Toyota way is synonymous with Toyota as a brand as a whole, the incorporation of the Toyota way has not been fully implemented in the US as it is in Japan. However, to facilitate the integration of the strategy, Liker and Houses (p, 464) inform us that at the commencement of operations in the US, the company had employed Japanese executives assisted by American managers to assist in the implementation of the Toyota Way. Toyota made an entry in the American market in 1957 at a time when Japan was recovering from the horrors of world war two and its domestic companies were seeking expansion in foreign markets.
The entrance was made with just two models, Toyopet and Landcruiser which were very inefficient and were a flop in the American market thus the company temporally withdrew and reentered the market with better versions. With the American market being very different from the Japanese and Asian markets, the company had to apply an entirely different marketing strategy in order to conform to the different market needs of Americans.
A good market entry strategy had to be formulated in order to cope with the competition of existing players such as General Motors and Daimler Chrysler (Toyota pressroom). One of the most significant and also relevant in today’ s market was price, fuel efficiency, and simplicity. Toyota strived to achieve the three by applying the Toyota way of lean production where wastage in time resources was kept at the minimum.