Co-ordination between Production and Distribution in a Globalizing Network of Firms: Assessing Flexibility Achieved in the Japanese Automobile Industry
This chapter provides an international comparison between Japanese home and overseas practices and Anglo-American practices. It traces the historical development of production scheduling procedures in response to demand situations and the nature of dealer–manufacturer relationships in them. The chapter makes the point that the Japanese core firm has come to realize a faster and more flexible manufacturing response to actual customer demand occurring at the dealer's end, and it stresses that such capability needs to be supported by greater information processing responsibilities on the dealer's side combined with more flexible manufacturing capability on the supplier's side. The chapter notes that, although dealers for US manufacturers are allowed greater discretion in sending orders to the manufacturers, accumulated disequilibrium between actual orders and production sometimes has to be restored by a drastic change in production scheduling accompanied by the shutdown of an assembly plant at very short notice.
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