GLOBAL OPERATIONS STRATEGY AND PROCESS SELECTION IN TOYOTA

Activity Objective

The objective of this discussion is to aid you in mastering the following course competencies:

  • Apply theories, models, and practices of global operations management to address business problems.
  • Integrate operations management analyses into general business management planning and decision making.

More specifically, you will:

  • Apply operations management analysis techniques to arrive at ethical recommendations in business decision scenarios.
  • Examine the role of operations in the organization’s internal and external environment.

Activity Instruction

For this discussion, review the library article “What Is Strategy?” by Porter (1996) and the case study Toyota: The Accelerator Crisis (2010) by Greto, Schotter, and Teagarden. Then, respond to the following questions:

  • Describe the four basic types of production processes defined in Chapter 6 of your Operations Management: Creating Value Along the Supply Chain textbook. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? When should each be used?
  • Porter (1996) claims that “operational effectiveness” is not a strategy. Why was operational effectiveness such a focus at Toyota? What are the downsides of “lean manufacturing?”
  • Has Toyota successfully enacted the principles espoused in the Toyota Way? What did they do well, and where is there room for improvement?
  • In pursuing its aggressive global expansion, what tradeoffs did Toyota make? How effectively did they manage the tension between global standardization and local responsiveness? Did they manage their value chain activities effectively?
  • What lessons can other companies take from Toyota’s crisis?
  • Had Toyota sacrificed quality and their historic customer focus at the expense of extreme cost reductions?
  • What role did Toyota’s supply chain and keiretsu structure play in the recall?

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