“Companies Everywhere Copied Japanese Manufacturing. Now the Model Is Cracking. Concepts celebrated in business publications worldwide have been tarnished by a string of scandals.
Japan’s reputation for flawless manufacturing quality and efficiency transformed the country’s postwar economy, changed business practices worldwide and spawned a library’s worth of management manuals and business advice books. Now, the model is cracking.
Kobe Steel Ltd., Mitsubishi Materials Corp., and Subaru Corp. have all admitted in recent months to manipulating quality inspections, though all say no safety problems emerged. Takata Corp. declared bankruptcy last year after admitting to supplying more than 50 million defective vehicle airbags in the U.S. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has admitted covering up vehicle faults and falsifying fuel-economy data.”
Sourced from The Wall Street Journal
Michel Baudin‘s comments: What does the Volkswagen diesel emission scandal say about eyeglass lenses and telescopes made by Zeiss or A320s assembled by Airbus in Hamburg? Nothing. Factories for these companies are all located in the same country but a lapse by one is just that, and the Wall Street Journal did not publish articles suggesting that it made a statement about German industry as a whole. When it comes to Japan, however, this is exactly what they are doing with this article, assuming there is such a thing as “Japanese manufacturing,” which is blemished by the misbehavior of any Japanese company.
What top management recently did at some Japanese companies does not invalidate the ideas of managers, engineers and production operators at other companies in the past 70 years. And whoever thought ideas were valuable just because they came out of Japan was as misguided as the authors of this Wall Street Journal article.
Forget about where innovators and inventors are from! Regardless of their names, if you are from Ohio, pretend they’re from Wapakoneta and then evaluate their ideas on their own merits. Don’t let nationalism get in the way.
Incidentally, at the level of a country, scandals are more revealing of social reaction to behaviors than of their frequency of occurrence. People who cut corners under pressure exist everywhere but, when they are found out, it only becomes a scandal when the public finds it intolerable.
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