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Strategic Management: Strategic Choices of Toyota - Admission/Application Essay Example

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The Toyota Motor Corporation is today regarded as one of the world’s top manufacturers of automobiles. In fact the automobile company was started by Kiichiro Toyoda, the son of Sakichi Toyoda, who had invented the Model G Automatic Loom in 1924…
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Strategic Management: Strategic Choices of Toyota
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The manufacturing industry in Japan has evolved and prospered under a cooperative and investment friendly climate. The concepts of Keiretsu and supply chain management are well known. To get early capital for the automobile firm, the father Kichiro Toyoda sold his loom patent to a British company to raise capital for his son’s business. Admittedly their ancestors were in farming since the name Toyoda means ‘fertile rice paddles’ and so the change of name to Toyota also earned them more respect as it disassociated them from farming. The Toyota logo the company employs was chosen from 27000 entries in a contest-the writing of which uses 8 strokes in Japanese which is considered auspicious. The oil embargo of 1973 enabled Japanese models to make inroads into the American market because people began to prefer smaller fuel efficient models. American companies had treated smaller models as experimental concepts and cut down quality on them to reduce the cost. With the imposition of Chicken Tax in 1964 barring the import of lightweight trucks Honda, Nissan and Toyota retaliated by opening plants in USA. Toyota entered into a joint venture with General Motors to refurbish and operate a closed GM plant in California. Subsequently, Toyota began introducing new models to the world. Lexus was unveiled in 1989, Camry and Prius in the 1990s (Toyoland, 2011). Two of the main principles of success that Toyota incorporates in its production management are Lean manufacturing and Just in Time inventory. It followed the lead of an American firm (Piggly–Wiggly) and also used the works of Edward Deming the late great quality guru to inculcate quality consciousness and long term thinking in everything it does. The values and guidelines that guide its processes are the following: 1.Challenge; 2. Improvement; 3. Go and See; 4. Respect; and 5. Teamwork. These are jointly called the ‘Toyota Way’. Changes in Strategy over the Years Toyota entered the market using Low Cost Leadership as its principal strategy but as it improved its production and quality processes, the vision of the company has also improved and today it serves all segments of the automobile market, from lightweight and compact models to heavy duty vehicles. Focus and Differentiation are evident in the facilities provided in a Camry and Lexus, compared to a Corolla (Porter, 1980). Each of these would serve a different class of customers. The changes in strategy adopted by Toyota are well known and understood by management and industry experts today. The Toyota Way has the following four components: 1. Long-term thinking used as the basis for management decisions; 2. Having a process for problem-solving; 3. Developing its people to add value to the organization; and 4. Recognizing the fact that continuously solving root problems leads to organizational learning. Strategy Fit in with the Environment of the Automobile Industry The success of Toyota has not been entirely due to luck- rather its rise has been carefully planned at every juncture and thought through before implementation. Thanks to the vision and foresight of its management, Toyota has emerged as one of the well known leaders in the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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