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Assignment : Discussion Case study Analysis “Toyota:

Toyota Teaching Note

Synopsis of the Case

The case describes the evolution of Toyota’s manufacturing system from its early days until the present day. The central theme is that distinctive competencies in manufacturing and materials management can form the bedrock of a company’s competitive advantage. Toyota’s distinctive competency in manufacturing and materials management developed over a fourty-year period through a process of experimentation and innovation.

The case opens with a discussion of the early days of Toyota. Its survival was precarious in the 1930s and 1940s. Indeed, had it not been for the persistence of a handful of key executives and a good measure of luck, Toyota might never have gotten off the ground. The case then moves on to describe the evolution of Toyota’s manufacturing system. Referred to as lean production or flexible production, this system includes reduced set-up times, organization, improved quality control, and the kanban system of having parts delivered just in time. The consequences of this system include high labor productivity, high quality, low costs, and an ability to produce a wide model range at no cost penalty. The case then discusses how Toyota has tried to bring its customers into the design and production planning process by building lifetime relationships with individual customers. The case then moves on to discuss the company’s successful expansion overseas, including its major investments in North America, before closing with a discussion of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and its aftermath.  

Teaching Objectives

The main teaching objectives of this case are as follows:

1. To illustrate the role of operations strategy in the creation of a competitive advantage.

2. To discuss the concepts of distinctive competencies and barriers to imitation as they apply to Toyota.

3. To illustrate the advantages of long-term contracts with suppliers as opposed to vertical integration or competitive bidding as alternative ways of managing the supply process.

This case can be used to illustrate many of the points made in Chapters 3, of the text. It should be positioned fairly early on in a strategic management course.

Strategic Issues and Discussion Questions

1. Compare and contrast Toyota’s manufacturing system with a conventional mass-production system. What are the advantages of Toyota’s system?

2. Describe the essential difference between the way supplier relations are managed at Toyota and how they were managed historically at the typical U.S. auto manufacturer. What are the consequences of these differences?

Rubric

Case study analysis Toyota

Case study analysis Toyota
CriteriaRatingsPts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeIdentification of Symptoms8 to >0.0 PtsFull Marks0 PtsNo Marks8 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeProblem Statements16 to >0.0 PtsFull Marks0 PtsNo Marks16 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeProblem Analysis18 to >0.0 PtsFull Marks0 PtsNo Marks18 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeIdentification of Alternatives16 to >0.0 PtsFull Marks0 PtsNo Marks16 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeEvaluation of Alternatives14 to >0.0 PtsFull Marks0 PtsNo Marks14 pts
This criterion is linked to a learning outcomeRecommended Course of Action13 to >0.0 PtsFull Marks0 PtsNo Marks13 pts
Total points: 85

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