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Critical evaluation concerning the belief that Japanese forms of operations management are inappropriate to Western organizations

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Paul B.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Kaizen: A concept of Japanese management
  3. The just-in-time philosophy
  4. Total Quality Management
  5. Problems with TQM
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

I would like to start by pointing out that I strongly disagree with the statement above. In this essay, I am going to give evidence to support my view. I will define some major Japanese forms of operations management and discuss their advantages and disadvantages to organizations in order to give a brief idea about the Japanese forms of operations management. I will also examine the main reasons why Japanese operations management is appropriate to Western organizations along with some examples. Moreover, I will talk about drawbacks from applying Japanese operations management to Western organizations.

There are many forms of Japanese operations management, the first one I would like to discuss is lean production.

[...] Due to the fact that errors are costly for businesses, the next essential concept I will look at is total quality management (TQM). TQM is another Japanese idea, it is a managerial approach, which focuses on quality and aims to improve the effectiveness, flexibility, and competitiveness of the business. It is estimated that about one-third of all the effort of British business is wasted in correcting errors. TQM is a ?medicine' for curing errors. TQM is often associated with the phase ?Doing the right things right, first time?. [...]


[...] While workers are given more responsibility and encouraged to work in teams, the motivation of workers is improved significantly. From its origins in Japan, the JIT approach has spread widely throughout the West. For example, in Britain, Roll Royce has divided its car plant into 16 zones, each acting as a business within a business, responsible for purchasing, cost, quality and delivery. This approach is truly appropriate to Roll Royce, as it has halved the break-even level from 2800 cars per year to 1400. [...]


[...] TQM works well in most of the organizations with many successful cases showing that it is an appropriate method to Western organizations. Unfortunately, there are some problems of using TQM. For example, there will be training and development costs of the new system, it will only work if there is commitment from the entire business and stress is placed on the process and not the product. A study undertaken by A.T. Kearney of over 100 British companies came to the conclusion that 80 percent of quality programmes fail to produce any tangible benefits and the programmes tended to fail because senior managers tend to set unrealistic goals at the outset. [...]

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