Hybrid Factories in the United States: The Japanese-Style Management and Production System under the Global Economy

Hybrid Factories in the United States: The Japanese-Style Management and Production System under the Global Economy

Hybrid Factories in the United States: The Japanese-Style Management and Production System under the Global Economy

Hybrid Factories in the United States: The Japanese-Style Management and Production System under the Global Economy

Excerpt

This book investigates the local production operations and their management in major Japanese firms’ local plants in North America—mainly in the United States—examining the reality of transferability and transfiguration of Japanesestyle management and production system (JMPS) in other countries, in the context of the global economy. The main part of this study is based on our comprehensive field surveys in North America in 2000–2001 conducted by our Japanese Multinational Enterprise Study Group (JMNESG).

One of the important features of this book is its chronological comparison of the major changes that have taken place since our first round of comprehensive research in North America in 1986–1989. It also includes inter-regional comparisons that make extensive use of research conducted in major regions of the world since the late 1980s.

Since the early 1980s, Japanese firms have been globalizing their production operations on a large scale, particularly in North America, Asia, Europe, and elsewhere. They have shown superb competitive powers in export trades. JMPS has been widely recognized as a major source of the competitive edge of Japanese firms. In the era of transforming the postwar Pax Americana regime and consequent globalization, it seems to assist with the transfiguring of management and production system standards worldwide. Becoming lean is a common slogan worldwide. Japanese manufacturing firms themselves, however, had to overcome an increasing hardship of both export trade-caused by intensifying trade frictions with the United States and Europe-and the high appreciation of Japanese yen. They were forced to advance local production operations abroad and globalize their businesses.

Although they reluctantly started local production abroad, these full-fledged production operations inevitably lead Japanese firms to face one major challenge. They had to establish JMPS locally (we call it the application aspect), which meant realizing that in other countries conditions differed from those that had originally nurtured the system. Sometimes they adapted to local conditions and successfully assimilated to them (we call it adaptation aspect) to stabilize management.

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