Japanese management the most successful management philosophy

Japanese management has been practicing for a long time but it did not arrest experts’ emphasis until recent years. Nowadays, it is the most successful management philosophy in the world which attracts a variety of different companies to imitate their experience and execute it in different countries. (Patel and Russell, 1999) Basically, Comparing the culture with other countries, to reduce cost in the Japanese’s thoughts is the primary concept in their mind which is not seen merely as a business theory. In fact, Japanese have the unusual perspectives for cost management. It has been claimed that cost management is divided into two parts- cost reduction and cost control. Japanese management emphasizes on the former part and strongly believed that it is suitable for the current manufacturing. In other words, the managers focus on how to reduce the cost when the products are still in the process of design and production. The main reason why it is important is that reducing waste in the design and production process could increase the profits directly. (Monden and Sakurai, 1989) To use the efficient ways to achieve the goal of no waste in the processes is the pivotal element in the Japanese management-Lean thinking. To use Less time and money and provide and satisfy consumers need to make more profit.(transtalted) By using lean thinking, it is successful for producers to use critical thinking to evaluate the procedure which component is essential and also eliminates the superfluous part in the production process to earn maximum profits. In addition, lean thinking philosophy is not only to makes manufacturing processes well-organized, but also add value to the products, customers, companies and the world.

Another principal element in Japanese management which needs to be mentioned is Kaizen. Kai is meant change and Zen is meant for the better.(Alex in lecture) Thus, Kaizen is continuous improvement which deeply influences the thoughts of Japanese. According to De Bono (1991) “The Japanese search for quality in manufacturing is unending. Because, no matter how good something is, there is always the possibility of doing it better.” It explains why Japanese management could always use the innovative attitude to break the record and became the leader in the automotive industry. It has been admitted that the significant difference between Japanese management and western management is that former is known for its Kaizen and process-oriented compared with west’s innovation and result-oriented thinking. (Patel A. & Russell D, 1999) Basically, Japanese management emphasizes how to make process accurate, then it will produce the correct consequences. Furthermore, people involving in the improving process is the crucial step. In Japanese culture, it could be observed that Japanese people have the distinctive national features. They concern about the relationships between individuals and groups more than western countries do. Respecting people is a fundamental manner in the society and that is a common thought in Japan. Hence, People in the group and society would be believed and provide their concerted efforts and opinions to improve the outcome. By using kaizen, it is successful to establish a invisible aim for the people in the organization to achieve and lead the organization keep changing for the better in the proper course.

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It cannot be denied that Toyota is the most successful Japanese company in the world which represents the Japanese management model to practice in the real world. Actually, Toyota has its particular management theory- Toyota way that proves and advocates the philosophy successfully. It upgrades the way of reducing non-value waste in the production system by respecting people’s opinions to involve in endless improving process. Firstly, it insists the long term philosophy which has high priority in the management decision. What is meant by this is that Toyota believes its responsibility for customers, society and the world which need to use the long- term perspectives to evaluate the value of decision. Therefore, short-term decision and profits should be placed in the second consideration and sometime it should be ignored for improving the organization and the economy. (Liker, 2004) Although Toyota sacrifice the short-term profit, it still demonstrates that can make long-term profits more than others automotive companies and to be the leader in the industry.

Secondly, Toyota believes that right result depends on the right process. It uses the Japanese management philosophy to create the Toyota Production System (TPS). In order to achieve the primary reduce the non-value waste, Just In Time (JIT) was designed to eliminate the waste and keep improving the production quality which base on Lean thinking. It could be called lean production and divided into two part – JIT purchasing and JIT production. JIT purchasing is that Manage the needs of material and make it almost same as requirement to make zero level of stock. In the JIT purchasing, its aim to reduce any non-value added for zero inventory by using kanban with Pull system which establish on consumers demands. (Liker, 2004) Hence, Kanban solves the overproducing problem and make Toyota use the entire resources on the right process to improving the quality and providing the products which meet customers’ needs. Undoubtedly, it is a representative practice for lean production.

In the TPS, it also emphasizes automation production but the different view is that it installs the human judgmental elements in the process which called Jidoka. Andon is crucial equipment which was designed to prevent the defects happen. If Toyota employees find the producing problems, everyone in the producing process can use Andon to report defects and stop the production line to fix the problems immediately for controlling the quality. (Liker, 2004). This means that it improved the machine production weakness by believing the human ability. As the result, The reason why Toyota has the successful production system is that Toyota believe their workers must be better than machine and do not leave the problem behind and fix it later.

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For the lean thinking, human resource in the TPS is another important part for reducing waste. The function of Shojinka is to manage the workforce flexible to prevent the idle time. It also trains the employee who has the multi skills to deal with different part of the problems. However, it is different from western company. For example, When GM and Toyota were cooperating for the venture, it was found that GM had 33 classifications in the factory but Toyota only had 3. It means that the Toyota workforce is more flexible and understanding the producing process more than GM. Thus, Toyota workers can solve the problems more efficient. (Pinchot, 1996) Furthermore, last one in the TPS is soikufu which means that Toyota encourages and gives employees more opportunities to provide their opinions for keeping improving because it believe the workers in the process who must know the details more others.(liker,2004)

Toyota always considers their employees as the most important role in the production process and they need to be respected and believed deeply. Even basic small workers, they would make a massive improvement in the future. Toyota prefer to grow the leader in the organization than hire them from other companies which encourage the centripetal force. Moreover, it claim that to be a leader have to know everything small detail in the production process for preparing to do the accurate decision in the future.

Communicating with the employees make them involved and improving the organization is the essential course. (Liker, 2004) It is different from western companies that think machine is reliable more than people. Conversely, trusting people can control the machine which make Toyota continue refining their quality.

There is no doubt that Kaizen always is the pivotal value in the Japanese and Toyota use five way methods to inspect the root problems to keep organization improving. In fact, kaizen is the basic principle in the every part of Toyota management philosophy. Making organization know how to discover the cause of problems or waste in the process and solve it(Liker, 2004). If we lead the organization stable to find the detail defects, we can predict that it must be better in the future than today.

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In contrast, however, Japanese management also has the invisible crises which need to be solved. First thing it should be noted id that In Toyota way, the prerequisite is that people and partners in the organization have the common perception for future objective and cooperative atmosphere is harmony. In other words, people in the organization is a influential part in the Japanese management. However, in Toyota way, if Partners could not have a common concept, the management philosophy still is a theory. For instance, GM stop the 25 years collaborative relationship with Toyota for Nummi. Since GM and Toyota could not have a agreement for the future production plan and background is different from the time when they decided to cooperate.(Bunkley, 2009) As the result, collaborator relationship will design the Japanese management is a theory or it could practice in the real world. Another issue should be noticed is that Japanese management highlights the people’s judgment but it forgets the mental pressure of the workers. For example, Andon is designed to stop the production line to fix the problems immediately, even though it happens inevitably like a loose screw or a broken bulb. Workers find the little problems and stop the production line that will make the schedule delayed. If the small problems occur frequently, workers will feel depressed and suffer low morale.

In conclusion, Japanese management is the new main trend in the business.

In fact, Ford also focus on how to eliminate the non-value waste but

people are the most crucial part in the organization that should be value beyond the machine and



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Liker, J.K. (2004) The Toyota way: 14 management principles from the world’s greatest manufacturer, McGraw-Hill Professional

Monden, Y. and Sakurai, M. (1989) Japanese management accounting: a world class approach to profit management, New York: Productivity Press.

Patel, A. & Russell, D. (1999). Cost Management: An introduction to Japanese Management Practices, ACCA Students Newsletter,

Pinchot, E. (1996) intelligent organization: engaging the talent & initiative of everyone, San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

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