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It’s Toyota, not "Japan," that you’re fighting Mr. Ford


The Cincinnati Post – Don't blame Japan

Here's the latest column from Jim Womack (read my Q&A with him here).

On Nov. 22 after a speech at the National Press Club, Ford Motor Co. Chairman Bill Ford told the media, with apparent earnestness, that his company “can compete with Toyota, but we can't compete with Japan.”

This is an old myth.

Click on the link above to read more.

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If any government helped the Japanese at that time, it was the American government. When the Reagan administration came up with the Voluntary Restraint Agreement in 1981, it limited the number of imported Japanese cars sold in the United States for a period of years. Because consumer demand for Japanese cars then was greater than the supply, profit margins on the cars Japanese firms were allowed to sell soared. The Japanese companies then used those enormous profits to invest in North American factories and develop pricier up-market brands such as the Lexus.

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Interesting point, and I've heard Daniel Roos talk about this as well. Ah, the unintended consequences of government interference in the market.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. Anonymous says

    Does womack need a new stump speech? Hasn’t he been harping on this for a while?

  2. Anonymous says

    This is not a retread of an old stump speech. If you were to look closely at the article, you’ll see that it is a reprint of an article that Womack published last year, and which the Cincy paper seems to have gotten around to reprinting last week.

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