Knowledge Management Practices at Toyota Motors|IT and Systems|Case Study|Case Studies

Knowledge Management Practices at Toyota Motors

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Case Details:

Case Code : ITSY048
Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 1943-2005
Pub Date : 2005
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Toyota
Industry : Automobiles
Countries : Japan

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

Toyota was set up in 1897, when Sakichi Toyoda (Sakichi) diversified into the handloom machinery business from his family's traditional business of carpentry. He founded Toyoda Automatic Loom Works (TALW) in 1926 for manufacturing automatic looms...

Knowledge Management at Toyota

According to analysts, Toyota's success in both the local and global markets was based on its gaining a competitive advantage through implementation of innovative and path-breaking ideas on its production floors. TPS worked on the basic idea of maintaining a continuous flow of products in factories in order to adapt flexibly to changes in demand. TPS linked all production activities to real dealer demand through implementation of Kanban, JIT and other quality measures...

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Delivering Value to the Customer

In 2003, Toyota retained its position as the largest seller of a luxury car model (Lexus) in the US, for the fourth year in a row, beating BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac and Acura. Auto-analysts said it overturned the commonly-held assumption that a luxury brand would need decades to establish itself...

The Returns

In 2003, Toyota's profits of around $8 billion were more than the combined profits of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Again in the year 2004, it was the most profitable automobile company in the world with profits of $11 billion on revenues of $163.6 billion.

The largest automobile company, GM, generated a mere $3.7 billion in profits on revenues of $193.5 billion. Between July 2004 to January 2005, GM's share price fell while Toyota's rose (Refer Exhibit VII for the share price chart)...


Exhibit I: Key Knowledge Performance Dimensions - The Make Study
Exhibit II: Organization of Toyota Motor Corporation
Exhibit III A: Global Production Centre as a Hub for Learning
Exhibit III B: Visual Manuals Developed at Global Production Centre
Exhibit IV: Learning Within Toyota: The Lamda Way
Exhibit V: The Guiding Principles at Toyota
Exhibit VI: Global Top Ten Brands
Exhibit VII: Share Price Chart: Toyota and GM

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