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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Knowledge as Power Contd...

Most experts believed that successful Knowledge Management (KM) had given Toyota a keen competitive edge. Toyota's Production System (TPS) manufactured a variety of high-quality vehicles at very low cost. Toyota had been extremely open about its TPS. Company sources were quoted to have said, "Study us all you want"5.

Still no other company was able to match Toyota's production system despite decades of effort. The world's largest automaker, General Motors (GM), entered into an alliance with Toyota to see its production systems in action and learn the intricacies, but could not match Toyota standards.

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According to a study6, DaimlerChrysler, one of the "Big Three7" auto firms, acknowledged that its KM initiatives had been actually inspired by Toyota's Yokoten8 system.

Excerpts >>

5] George Stalk Jr. and Rob Lachenauer, "The Hardball Manifesto: Play to Win," HBS Working Knowledge, July 19, 2004.

6] Al Jacobson, "Ernst & Young case study," 1997.

7] The term Big Three refers to the three big US automobile companies - GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler.

8] A fundamental principle of the Toyota Way, it refers to sharing of information and ideas.

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