If you have chosen to study business management or nursing, one of the most commonly allocated assignments that you will have to write from time to time are case studies. If you are a business student, you would be given a case of any company where you suppose to assess the business problem, examine their solutions and have to come with the most effective solutions endorsed by the evidences.
Here, we endeavor to make the entire concept of case study clear to you and have talked about Toyota case study in particular as an example to help you comprehend better.
Assignment on business case studies are aimed towards preparing students for the profession they want to embrace. Case studies are written as summaries of real businesses or a problematic business situation which is just fictitious. Students are expected to assess and analyse the problem and suggest suitable measures to overcome it.
Writing case studies help students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. Students illustrate how business theories taught to them can be applied to the real-life situations for solving business problems and dilemmas.
You can follow these tips to write a business case study:
Reading the case carefully:
You will be given a case which may be real or a fictitious one. To write a case study you need to read the case carefully to examine it.
Focus on analysis:
You will have to locate certain key problems of the case. You can choose 2-3 or up to 5 key problems. Thereafter you need to talk about why those problems exist, what influence they have on organisation and who is responsible for them or what factors can be behind them.
Suggest the best possible solution or measures:
By weighing the pros and cons, you need to come up with a possible solution and suggest whether the solution is realistic or not.
Once you have gathered all the requisite information, a draft of case study should be prepared having certain important sections that may differ depending on the directions given by the department or a typical case. It is important to set the scene, analyse the case thoroughly and then come with your suggestions as what to be done or what could have done. If you think you have written enough and have incorporated all the important facts, read it all through to check for any inconsistencies, gaps in the content or erratic structure.
Check out your conclusion. It should be amply clear leaving no scope for any confusion. Remember to apply business theories wherever you can to have a better impact.
Here, we have chosen to talk about Toyota Case Study as an example to help you understand the concept of management operation.
Toyota Motors is a leading name in the automobile industry. This Japanese car manufacturer has a global presence and has business set-ups in more than 170 countries across the world. The company manufactures different types of automobiles right from minivans to the luxury cars and full-sized pick-up trucks.
Land Cruiser, Sienna, 4Runner, Camry, Lexus line, Corolla are some of the top models of the company. With a truly impressive financial potency and a sales turn-over of more than 131,511 million for the year 1997, the company is all-poised to take over General Motors which is the largest automobile manufacturer.
Toyota Motors has a policy of measuring everything even the noise the typical noise that the car doors create. Toyota Motor Corporation has become the most successful companies and the launching of a commercial hybrid names Prius has enables the company to take strides in the right direction.
Reasons behind the Company Success
Assurance for the quality has made Toyota a trusted and the largest selling brand. Apart from manufacturing eco-friendly cars, this automobile manufacturer focuses on the following:
Innovation and Smart Automation:
When it comes to innovative ideas, Toyota occupies the frontal position. It is this brand that adopted Lean manufacturing technology first of all. The technology led to lesser waste and a better production. The technology was later patented and came to be known as Toyota Production System. Apart from that, smart automation and JIT (Just in Time) manufacturing are also the brainchild of this company.
Better Focus on Product:
Toyota has earned a good status in the market for producing the cars that are eco-friendly and fuel-efficient. The company endeavours for the betterment of its products from time to time. Following the rise of oil prices globally, the car manufacturer came up with an idea of developing cars that can run on hybrid fuels (electric and gas).
Existence in Globally Strategic Markets:
Toyota entered the markets and penetrated them with a number of sales subsidiaries and better manufacturing. The company has first-mover advantage in the internationally strategic markets like US, Europe and Asia. General Motors and Ford are the closest opponents of Toyota. The automobile giant is all set to take the lead development in India, China and other South-East Asian markets.
Appropriate Manufacturing Site Which Saves Cost:
Automobile manufacturing is a costly affair and hence Toyota has moved its manufacturing site where the resources are cheaper (with no compromise on quality). At present, the company manufacturers diverse parts of cars and they get assembled in different locations all across the world.
Challenges Faced by Automobile Industry:
These are the challenges faced not by Toyota alone but by the automobile industry at large. Focus on manufacturing fuel efficient and small sized cars that can run on alternative and cheaper fuels is a wise option.
TOYATA GAS PEDAL ISSUE THAT AFFECTED MORE THAN 2 MILLION VEHICLES WORLD-WIDE:
The issue that has affected a huge number of vehicles a decade back and led to the complete waste of resources can be attributed to the quality management problem leading to the faulty gas pedals and a huge wastage. Moreover, avoidance of the operational management of the company has resulted into more issues coming up.
What Should the Automobile Giant Have Done?
Quality assurance should be first priority of any business. Toyota should have ensured a repeated quality check. Quality of gas pedals being compromised has affected the market reputation of company adversely. A sound investment on quality management should have been there to ensure that no faulty parts are used. If the company has adhered to the rule of zero defect system strictly, the problem could be avoided.
Though right now Toyota adheres to the 14 principle based production system which is aimed in maintaining the top most quality only but this system should have been placed a decade back to avoid this problem that had adversely affected the reputation of company. Production of quality vehicles may have checked this problem. Apart from that, a customer feedback needed to be taken to fix the issue on time.
A focus on quality operations is a must for any automobile manufacturer because safety is the first priority of any car buyer. Zero defect policy, an utmost customer satisfaction level and an effective management of inventory should be the top most priority. All these priorities should be in place when policies of any automobile company are implemented. Focus on vehicle safety and top most quality management help the company to have a competitive advantage in the market.
Supply and demand patters in the automobile industry has undergone a sea change. Owing to these changes in the automobile industry, the operational strategy is more focused on producing quality products for the consumers. Top-most quality is an obvious top-most priority for every vehicle manufacturer as the result of this; automobile companies have transformed their operations and have included quality-assurance in terms of JIT, Kaizen, six sigma and quality circles. Now, an increasing number of automobile manufacturers are also using trade-offs for having a competitive edge in the market.
An investment in technological advancement and quality assurance is a sure-shot guarantee of betterment.
If Toyota was not behind the unintended acceleration, why it was accused for the same?
Attributed to the poor communication channel
This case is attributed to the poor public relations. The company had to cope up with this issue because of the lack of a proper communication with the public. When the public relation team failed to respond back on time, the consumers begin to feel that it is concealing something to cover their laws and the situation take the turn for worse when the CEO of company, Akio Toyoda preferred to keep silent on the issue. The American Media blamed TOYATA for its lack of transparency.
Cultural differences between Americans and Japanese
Another prime issue was the cultural difference between the American and Japanese. The difference of two conflicting strategy resulted in the problem. According to the Japanese Management, when any company faces problems, they intimate the media first. Contrary to this, in an American style, company needs to answer and then get prepared to the action. It is due to this reason when Toyota kept the silent, Americans respond fiercely apprehending a foul play by the company. However, this was just unprofessionalism.
After the Stories of unintended acceleration are publicised, there were reports of increasing accidents. What is the case??
With the advent of technology, the automobiles are also becoming technology-based. This is not the case with Toyota alone. The unintended acceleration of pedals happened with Audi 5000 as well. In Audi also the same issue cropped up. When drivers were trying to push the break, they were pressing the gas. But, not all the Audio brands were trashed for this.
This can be attributed to the drivers’ error also:
With the advent of modern technology, automobiles are becoming more and more technology driven. Driver’s that are not yet full-aware of the modern technology can mishandle the vehicle and hence the onus of making vehicles completely idiot-proof lies on the shoulders of automobile manufacturers. The problem is a common phenomenon in the new and sophisticated vehicles and hence it could be a mistake of driver and not the automaker.
Is it possible to produce safe and superior quality automobiles while having a conceited culture?
No, this is the case with Toyota! The company maintains a conceited culture which is attributed to its high performance and high success. There are times like that of unintended acceleration where company preferred to maintain its conceited culture and chose not to speak to public though it earned a bad repute for them as Americans accused the company for lack of transparency.
The arrogant culture of the company and trying to conceal facts from public resulted in bad publicity. Though eventually company realises its fault and tendered an apology to the public but due its conceited nature had harmed the image of company. So, a good public relation and proper communication have to be maintained with public to stay in the market. A conceited nature can do more harm than any good. To produce vehicles which consumer can think of high-quality and safe, a proper communication channel is to be maintained.
Suppose you were the CEO of Toyota at the time of the crisis when the story of unintended acceleration became public, how you would have responded??
Focusing on advertising and publicity campaign is an inseparable and inevitable part of any business. There a business ethic which needs to be followed however good reputation you may have in the market. So, had I been in that place, I would have tackled the issue along with the goodwill of media not staying away from it. My first duty would have been towards clarifying doubts and apprehensions among the public and then I would focus on getting the issue addressed with an immediate effect.
Measures Taken by Toyota Motor Corporation TMC for Changing Organisational Structure in 2016
A change done in the organizational structure by TMC is a step towards the right direction. It has now a better decision-making unit and an improved level of management oversight that can enhance the business innovation.
To avoid such discrepancies in future and as a step towards the betterment of quality, the automobile maker make substantial changes in its overall structure in the year 2016. It is after that, Toyota came to be known as an automobile company which is built around a product rather than function. It has continued business innovation ever since then. Now, the company boasts to have a better planning and better public relation department which ensures a smooth functioning.
EV Business Planning department set up by this automobile major is an in-house venture business which takes the onus of planning and developing the electric vehicles. This has helped Toyota establish an image of having the best compact car manufacturer in the market. (It is important to note than the compact cars are rising in popularity and more in demand.)
These alterations done by the TOYOTA Motors is the conclusion of two important things. A company or a business unit grows for sure when it has ample amount of people who can prove to a quick decision makers and can take the right action at the right time.
With its policy called “Genchi Genbutsu” (on-site learning and problem solving unit) has enabled the company to cope with the issues like gas pedal). The second important thing that the company focused on is how to reduce the time and efforts by the cross-functional co-ordination and set up a work process that can enable the company to make better and cost-efficient cars for the customers.
The company has also taken the considerations of additional issues creeping in and has tried to make changes in the positive direction. To put it in the words of TMC President Akio Toyoda, “the changes done in the structural unit of the company is not an answer, it is just an opportunity.” He further professes that the workforce of any company enables it to remain viable for the years to come.
A better public relation unit along with a sound decision-making department can strengthen the oversight of management. Members of the board of directors are responsible for the decision making and for the management oversight. A better operational execution is a must for a company to grow and flourish. The company has also reduced the members of Board of Directors from total of 11 to 9. Out of this team of directors, 3 are from outside the board committee.
What Steps Did Company Take For Boosting Business Innovation?
To have a better business innovation, the company has put on several efforts. It has established GAZOO Racing Company which is an in-house company set up with the purpose of setting a structure that is able to consolidate techniques and technologies acquired through the motorsports. The unit is meant for developing vehicles that can give its consumers “a heart pumping excitement.”
Reorganise and integrate the region-based business units. It has enabled the company to excel and take progressive steps in the right direction. Now the company is better equipped to deal with any contingency arising from safety issues. Also, it is able to complete the work right from planning to the production. A better cenceptualisation, product design and above all a better and sound communication channel to address public at the time of any emergency like situation is there in place. Revised structure and functional units of the company is a step taken in the right direction for a better tomorrow.
Worldwide total number of cars of this automobile giant stood more than 9 million. Though the company has achieved tremendous success through the years and has achieved the milestones that can envy its competitors but the company fails in one count and that is its arrogant culture.
It is always better to take precautions. When the issue of unintended acceleration occurred, the company had to face a bad weather indeed because of its arrogant culture and keeping things under wraps from public. Instead of cutting a sorry figure later and tendering apologies, the company could have prevented this mess.
Later on, Toyota made several modifications. They publicise messages like for Toyota Motor Corporation, safety is the first priority and also came up with “Communication across cultures.” It has a huge public relation team in place now which is fully equipped to handle any possible discord in the future.
The case of Toyota shows how important it is for the company to earn the goodwill of the consumers which is the ultimate irrespective of the stature of company. Production of top and safe automobiles with repeated quality checks is essential but more than that a sound communication channel with the public matters.
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