Hybrid Factory in Asia: A Case of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
The theme of this chapter is the transfer of Japanese business and production systems to Asian countries, with particular reference to the subsidiary plants of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC). Japanese manufacturing industries have a 20-year track record actively expanding their production activities overseas. As a result, the feasibility of the overseas transferability of these Japanese systems has become widely accepted. Not only the subsidiaries of Japanese companies, but foreign companies themselves have introduced the Japanese system at their local enterprises. However, this does not mean that the system that Japanese and other companies introduce at the local overseas plants is necessarily the same as the system as it exists in Japan. Research has examined, in detail, the twin aspects of the application of the Japanese system as it developed in Japan, and the adaptation of this same system to the business environment of local overseas operations (Abo 1994, Itagaki 1997). The key elements of the Japanese production system are small-lot production, just-in-time (JIT) parts delivery, quality built into the manufacturing process, and multi-skilled workers, which are a requisite condition for implementing the necessary production and quality control into the local operations. Another important element is the long-term relationship between auto assemblers and parts suppliers, particularly in terms of the participation of parts suppliers, right from the early stage of product development, as well as the assurance of JIT parts supply. Finally, there is also the utilization of kaizen activities to bring the skills and know-how within the organization to bear on everything from common, everyday problems to changes that occur in the external environment. Japanese multinationals must decide whether to apply these elements to their local operations in order to display the superior competitive strength of their system, or whether to take into consideration the characteristics of the existing, local business environment. The consequent application or adaptation of these elements then gives rise to hybridization.
KeywordsCommercial Vehicle Wage System Japanese System Capital Participation Overseas Production
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