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"Japanese forms of operations management are inappropriate to Western organisations." Critically evaluate this statement.

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Introduction

"Japanese forms of operations management are inappropriate to Western organisations." Critically evaluate this statement. I would like to start by pointing out that I strongly disagree with the statement above. In this essay, I am going to give evidences to support my view. I will define some major Japanese forms of operations management and discuss their advantages and disadvantages to organisations 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 organisations along with some examples. Moreover, I will talk about drawbacks from applying Japanese operations management to Western organisations. There are many forms of Japanese operations management, the first one I would like to discuss is lean production. Lean production is an approach to production developed in Japan. Toyota, the Japanese car manufacturer, was the first company to adopt this approach. Its aim is to reduce the quantity of resources used up in production. Lean producers use less of everything, including factory space, materials, stocks, suppliers, labour, capital and time. As a result, lean producers are also able to design new products quicker and can offer customers a wider range of products to choose from. Lean production involves using a range of practices designed to reduce waste and to improve productivity and quality. Lean Thinking can be applied to any organisation in any sector; although its origins are firmly in an automotive production environment, the principles and techniques are transferable often with little adaptation. ...read more.

Middle

A large part of Amitco's success in gaining a competitive edge in the market has been the result of changes made in factory. One of these changes involved a switch from flow production to cellular manufacturing. The production of one product called Arden was reorganised along classic JIT lines and the use of cells was employed. Instead of being produced in stages in a flow of materials, beginning in a separate store area and then embracing manufacturing resources in both of their factories, all the materials and resources required to produce Arden were located in a single cell. Once processing begins, workers move directly from process to process (or sit in mini-queues). The result is very fast throughput. Besides, communication is easier since every operator is close to the others leading to improved quality and coordination. Proximity and a common mission enhance teamwork. However, organisations should be aware of the limitations of cellular manufacturing, for instance, processes can be less flexible and it might result in lower utilisation of equipments. 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". ...read more.

Conclusion

To make my conclusion of the essay, I would say that I strongly disagree that Japanese forms of operations management are inappropriate to Western organisatiosn. Many of the Japanese forms of operations management are developed in a relation to Western organisations. For example, quality circles originated in Japan, although they can be traced to the influences of Drs. Deming and Juran, two American quality control and management experts who lectured extensively in Japan in the 1950s. Today, quality circles are increasingly accepted in Western world and have lost most of their Japanese flavor. The most important point I would like to bring up is that many Western industrial firms are faced with increased problems in terms of manufacturing control. Just-in-time approach can help firms to solve these problems, JIT is a manufacturing system designed to minimise the costs of holding stocks of raw materials, components, work-in-progress and finished goods by very carefully planned scheduling and flow of resources through the production process. Therefore, JIT is definitely an appropriate system to Western organisations. Overall in this essay, I use lots of examples of successful achievements in Japanese forms of operations management. This is because I believe that successful examples are the most powerful evidence to support my view. Some failures of applying Japanese forms of operations management to Western world are also included. However, compared with the number of successful cases in using Japanese forms of operations management, those failed cases were only a fraction of the successful ones. Taken as a whole, there are lots of positive evidence proving that Western organisations would be able to gain substantial potential benefits by applying Japanese forms of operations management. Therefore, I strongly disagree that Japanese forms of operation management are inappropriate to Western organisations. ...read more.

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