Japanese management techniques at Toyota

After World War II, Japan gained quick recovery from affects of conflict and developed its economy with unprecedented speed. Its cultural habits and managerial models have gradually been popular around the planet due to its successful development in the post-World Warfare II. They may be labeled as the Japanese management style or Japanese management techniques. In this essay, we will discuss Japanese management techniques through study the situation of Toyota. It comes into three parts. In the first part, it'll introduce the overall background of Japanese management techniques as well as offering a simply evaluation on it. On the basis of that, it'll continue to further analysis Toyota. After clear introduction of Toyota, this essay will examine how Toyota bears out management techniques in means of Toyota Production System and other management techniques. Last but not least, it'll criticize Japanese management techniques and show some tips. 154

1 Japanese management techniques

1. 1 Basic Track record of Japanese management techniques

Japanese management techniques had become known after World Battle II, which contain Japanese cultural habits, managerial models and some traditional conventions. Regardless of the actual fact that it was realized in European countries through the postwar period, Japanese management techniques have developed for an extended years. Their record can go back to the second option part of 19th century, whenever a modernization revolution started in the 1868 Meiji restoration with the regime of new monarchy.

Based on its historical customs, traditional Japanese management techniques mainly contain in-house training of managers, consensual and decentralized decision-making, intensive use of quality control methods, carefully codified work expectations, seniority-based compensation, to say a few. They helped boost Japanese market to survive from the engine oil problems in the1970th. However, it also encountered bad problems in the heated up world competition. They have to make some changes. For instance, a American style routine of merit-based pay has little by little taken place of seniority-based raises. Now it was believed that Japanese management was moving to new guidelines, some even say it will reach the advantage of death. But many think that through adoption European style and combination with former practices and practices it will face a fresh development and success. 203

1. 2 Research on Japanese management techniques

Japanese management techniques are mainly composed of six aspects, that is, in-house training of managers, consensual and decentralized decision-making, intensive use of quality control methods, carefully codified work criteria, focus on creating harmonious relationships among workers, life-time employment and seniority-based reimbursement. However, the above contents aren't the entire Japanese management techniques, because they are always changing ceaselessly and inputting those new and impressive methods and ideas.

Then we will be talking about characteristics of Japanese management techniques. Because that Japan is a country which owns deep-rooted sense of hierarchy, it can be shown from other management that advertising and compensation predicated on grades, not exactly in accordance with their performances. This sort of extra system is securely linked with another feature on management, that is, life-time job. People in Japan have a tendency to be happy to choose employment after graduation as their life span job. Most of them would like to stay with the business until retirement. The life-time system makes company and individual believe that a firm could develop long-term training for their recruits and gain profits from their investment in training. To some extent, both of these systems are like fish toward normal water, which can't endure well without one. So it results low job-hopping among children, relatively an increased get older and less changes especially among the most notable executives in Japan. Compared to the United States and Europe, for illustration, relatively few company presidents are under age 50 (Gibney, 1981).

The third characteristics are about their focus on special feeling for quality. They paid much attention on handling the quality, from production process to the appearance at customers. Every personnel, from floor staff to top management, should have the product quality criterion in their mind and try their finest to do regarding them. In the meantime, they need to have school on quality control frequently. In Japan there have a quality circle which consist of ten personnel who give attention to concrete operations throughout production and analyze and evaluate quality issues through desks and graphs. Other characteristics such as hatred for misuse, flexibility during management, harmonious relations, employee involvement and so forth, are also apparent in Japanese management and captured much appraises surrounding the world. We are able to say that Japanese management helped its market received great development to be the world's second largest, just behind U. S.

2 Japanese management techniques in Toyota

2. 1 Simple track record of Toyota

Toyota was Japan's greatest automobile company and the world's top ten automotive companies. It was founded by Kiichiro in 1933. Firstly it mainly produced textile mechinecry until the founder Kiichiro started to set up atutomonile department in 1933, which start the annals of manufacturing cars. In 1935, the Toyota car protype AI made efficiently, the second time Automotive Industry Corporatio was officially established. However in the complete 30's and 40's period it developed slowly until following the World Conflict II when beagn to increase the pace of development.

Through introduction of Western and American technology and under the assistance of North american aotomotive technology specialists and management experts, it soon mastered advanced development and management techniques. On the basis of that, it combined with the characteristics of Japanese nation and created the famous Toyota Production System, continuously improve and perfect, which greatly helped to improve effenciency and production. Within the last 60's of last century, its products was largerly poured into the North American market. the 70's age was the gold period of fast development, after 80's it started out its comprehensive international strategy to the world. In 2008 it reached the most notable in Fortune. Getting about 285, 977 eployees, it makes earnings up to 230, 201 million dollarls. Early on cars like Toyota, Crown, Corolla, Optical Crown renowned for a while, rencently, Cressida, Lexus luxury automobiles are also famous.

2. 2 How Toyota holds out management techniques

In Toyota's long growing course, it gradually formed into its special management system, among them, Toyota Prodction System is the best ell-know one and became the model for worldwide manufacturing. Actually it was based on Japanese management techniques, however, it gained further development and new guidelines. Toyota Prodction System relished heavy popularity all over the world. Now let's learn about the details. "Lean making ", just-in-time, Jidoka, Shojinka, Soikufu all belongs to TPS.

Lean processing is a process used for calculating and reducing inventory and streamlining creation. It usually a Westernized version of JIT, and Japanese companies do some continuous variants. Based on knowledge, lean making is aimed to use just as much as less resources, such as inventory, individuals, fund, somewhat than by mass-production systems to increase output, which not only spend resources but also result in pressure for productions. Through changing organized structure, personnel business, operating mode and market demand etc, lean manufacturing can make development system adjust to modifications of customers in an instant way. In the meantime, everything in the development course that is inadequate and superfluous will be leaned, finally achieving the best outcome, for example, to meet market demand. In most cases, it carries out well the Japanese management techniques-extensive use of quality control methods and focus on customers, because the goal of lean manufacturing are to meet customers' demand and increase quality. Low fat manufacturing could be observed from every group of production, from plant company to supply hyperlink, from product design and research to variety and bulk of product.

Just-in-time has often been noticed as a essential management system to be able to reduce misuse, boost efficiency as well as obtaining more market share and competitive advantages. It requires to incorporate brief setup, reliable and effective quality adjustments to maximize the efficiency of human and machine labor and lessen backups. Planning in very short time, JIT must response changes of market and customer quickly. From its content and goals, we can easily see that it is just like Japanese management which both are paying much focus on quality control and lowering waste. This kind of management method has already been spreading to the whole nation and throughout the world, and also accepted and used by many companies. In all the JIT creation means, kanban management is one of the main one, meaning during the development circles, after use of extra part in the former procession, employees take off the card attached to the package and send back again to next procession in concrete time. It manifests on-site management and assures standard operation of production series.

Jidoka means to instilling human common sense into the machines to meet up with the needs of quality assurance. Every fault and problem should be resolved immediately, never let them go to next procession. Solving problem is not one employee's obligation, in stead; it ought to be done by every worker in the same series. Shojinka is trying to prevent of idle time. The two strategies which ensure efficiency of HR, utilizes is based on two parts, an example may be the Multi process having and the other is the multi skilled employees.

Other management techniques of Toyota include human learning resource management, marketing models, functional improvement models, product quality management models etc. Although they are not famous as TPS, they made great efforts to the success of Toyota. We can certainly know that Toyota carries out well Japanese management, but also featuring its own improvement.

3 Criticize Japanese management techniques and recommendation

3. 1 Advantages

Japanese management techniques have ever been very popular in the world and followed by many European countries, such as America. They made huge contribution to Japanese miracle overall economy. Their system about life span occupation and seniority-based settlement could reduce worker turnover at greatest. So it is known that employee turnover rate is suprisingly low in Japan. This is a great gain for companies, because it reduces much expenses for recruiting new personnel and training payment. Which is also not advantage for the long-term development for companies, since it means brain drain. They still have other advantages such as focus on quality and harmonious relations.

However, there is also their drawbacks. First, just-in-time system can reduce costs and response customer quickly, however in some circumstances, set up decrease can increase inventory and cost. Regarding to Willard I. Zangwill, these contradictions may lead to a fresh and more powerful production theory that resolves these contradictions (Zangwill, 15). Second, their bonus offer system, seniority-based payment, couldn't at extreme stimulate and increase employees' desire compared with Traditional western countries' system predicated on their performance and capability, nothing with age group and length of staying in a company.

Third, their success resulted a little proud and so also lose, which is from point of view of Miller. "The fabled Icarus of Greek mythology is thought to have flown so high, so near sunlight, that his man-made polish wings melted and he plunged to his loss of life in the Aegean Sea. The energy of Icarus's wings provided climb to the get away from that so doomed him. The paradox, of course, is the fact his greatest property resulted in his demise. And this same paradox pertains to many fantastic companies: their victories and their advantages frequently seduce them into the excesses that cause their downfall. Success contributes to field of expertise and exaggeration, to assurance and complacency, to dogma and ritual. " (Miller, 1992). In the current competitive situation, each company and country is currently deeply considering their methods to increase market share and make gains. Although Japanese management has been demonstrated very productive and possible in its long background, but things are changing day-to-day, in addition they need find a new way and way to make it more competitive. But some of them are still immersed in ever before glorious history.

In my opinion, Japanese need to awaken using their success management and try their best to study from those advanced management techniques to perfect theirs. They must put creative ideas in their mind on a regular basis.


Toyota has well inherited and developed Japanese management techniques through constant creation and successive improvement and alterations of these management system. The entire Japanese management techniques, although most of them are still available and benefit nowadays, likewise they need to change right now to meet requirements of competitive society and more individualized customers. A number of the good and incredibly useful features such focus on quality could be reserved. Many scholars presumed Japanese management techniques will be popular around the world someday.

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