Japanese automakers have long been known for the quality of their products, and especially for the efficiency of their stream-lined manufacturing and supply processes. Thus, few people could have predicted how severely the destructive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011 would disrupt the country's entire auto industry. Matters were further com plicated by the damage the quake and floodwaters caused to one of Japan's nuclear power plants, interrupting power sup plies around the country for an indefinite period and creating a dangerous radiation zone for miles around the plant.
1. What are some of the advantages of the supply chain used in the Japanese auto industry before the March 11 earth quake and tsunami? What were some of its disadvantages?
2. Is Toyota's plan for a "foolproof" supply chain consistent with the Lean production philosophy? Explain.
3. Can you think of any additional ways Toyota (and its com petitors in the Japanese auto industry) can improve upon the company's plan to create a "foolproof" supply chain?
4. What impact do you think Toyota's plan will have on the way it handles relationship management in its supply chain?

  • CreatedApril 10, 2015
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