Toyota retools in Japan, plans for a weaker yen

A Wall Street Journal article (Oct 7, 2011) describes efforts by Toyota to retool, reduce production batch size and plan to be competitive when the yen gets weaker. This strategy is counter to efforts by other automakers to move production out of Japan. The investments will enable flexible manufacturing and multiple tasks on short assembly lines. The aproach trades off setups for flexibility but can be managed because engine capacity is for six million while only 4.5 million are produced. Is the smaller batch, higher flexibility Toyota gamble a competitive gamble ? Will Toyota’s moves to invest on flexibility provide the required capability adapt to global conditions ? Is the increased automation a response to the graying Japanese workforce ?

About aviyer2010

Professor
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