Competition has gone global and the market and industry dynamics have necessitated the need for companies to make concerted efforts streamlined towards ensuring that high-quality goods and services are offered in the market at competitive prices. This has resulted in the adoption and implementation of several tools and strategies geared towards the attainment of the aforementioned goals. One of the strategies that have been roundly embraced by a multitude of companies in the analysis of their strengths and weaknesses with the aim of taking advantage of their opportunities and wading away threats. Toyota Motor Corporation has not been left out of this bracket. This paper seeks to analyze how well Toyota capitalizes on its strengths to meet threats and take advantage of opportunities. Towards this, an analysis of how their weaknesses impede these efforts will also be presented.
From the internal analysis of Toyota Motor Corporation, it can b discerned that Toyota has effectively made use of both tangible and intangible resources for its success and continual growth. These resources have been put to the best use by the company in the main of achieving its goals and objectives.
Whereas Toyota Motor Corporation has managed to post significant amounts of profits and record enormous growth over the years, the internal analysis of the company reveals that there has been the existence of both strengths and weaknesses. Strengths constitute the internal factors within the company that add value to the business while weaknesses on the other are those factors that present challenges. One strength of Toyota Motor Corporation has is the availability of tangible assets that have enabled it to execute most of its operations with ease. According to Liker (2004) “tangible assets such as available capital, equipment, credit, established customers, existing channels of distribution, copyrighted materials, patents, information and processing systems, and other valuable resources within the business are within the reach of Toyota Motor Corporation.” The availability of these assets has opened up opportunities for the exploration of possibilities of growth without difficulties.
In addition to the above, Toyota has strong background of research that presents a strength for the company. According to Liker (2004) “Toyota has a strong research and development capacity as well as manufacturing capabilities due to its ability to nourish and preserve employee creativity.” In research efforts within the company, Toyota Motor Corporation is the leader in the adoption of lean manufacturing. The term lean manufacturing is a common term in many sectors and business areas in the world today. It will refer to the manufacturing systems and philosophy that was first developed by Toyotas Company when they adopted the key production principles as developed by Henry Ford. This new venture culminated into a great success story, what with pronounced increments in the levels and quality of service and cost reductions. As can be expected, a lot of organizations and business entities have rushed to embrace the principles and philosophies in their systems or cultures.
“Lean manufacturing has been the symbol of efficiency and optimal performance since the 1980’s, mainly due to its association with the automotive industry and Toyota” (Womack & Jones, 1996). It has been shown to “out- performs the traditional production model of large batches on several occasions” (Womack & Jones, 1996). Toyota Motor Company is a success story because it has successful managed to reduce the production time, lower inventories, yield better quality services and gain higher profitability through the adoption of lean practices. The principles of lean manufacturing within the company are centered on creating continuous improvements and developing a steady fast culture that is customer oriented and which engages employees so that there is reduction in the intensity of time, materials and capital. “The fundamental focus is on the systematic elimination of non-value added activities and waste from the production process” (Johnson & Wemmerlov, 2004). Here, ‘waste’ is viewed as ‘any use or loss of resources that does not lead directly to the creation or production of a commodity that a customer desires’.
Despite the numerous strengths that support the success of Toyota Motor Corporation, it has its own share of weaknesses that threatens that same success. First, Toyota Motor Corporation is the leading global automaker. This means that is a target of both local and international competition. Second, Toyota Motor Corporation is one of the largest global manufacturing. The large size of a firm presents a point of weaknesses especially in the monitoring and evaluation of quality of products because of the large scale production.
Both the strengths of the company in the form of availability of tangible assets and the capacity to carry out research such as the introduction of lean principles encourages growth by the availing of opportunities. The weaknesses on the other hand hinder the addition of value because they present threats to the success and positive development of the company. In conclusion, it can be stated that Toyota Motor Corporation has effectively used its strengths to neutralize its weaknesses and ward off competition.
Johnson & Wemmerlov (2004); Efficacy of Lean Metrics in Evaluating the Performance of Manufacturing System. Milwaukee: University of Wisconsin.
Liker, J. (2004).The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer: journal of automotive engineering, Vol. 67, no. 23.
Womack, J and Jones, D. (1996) Lean Solutions: How Companies and Customers Can Create Value and Wealth Together. New York: Simon & Schuster.