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We will ship books from Japan. Book Description Bungei Shunju, Tokyo, Very Good in wrappers. Text is in Japanese. Seller Inventory Seller Rating:. Available From More Booksellers. About the Book. We're sorry; this specific copy is no longer available. AbeBooks has millions of books. We've listed similar copies below. Stock Image. Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1. Published by Bungei Shunju. Used Paperback Bunko Quantity Available: 1. Used Quantity Available: 7. Seller Image. Published by Bungei Shunju, Tokyo Used Softcover Quantity Available: 1. Be receptive to new technology during the early stages of the development cycle so that suppliers know when to present their suggestions for radical changes.

At some Japanese companies, one or two top-level managers routinely attend new-technology presentations made by suppliers.

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Make sure your suppliers know the limits of their latitude, because late changes in the targets for one component will reverberate throughout the entire system, affecting the design work of many other suppliers. For instance, providing suppliers with a layout of mating components will communicate the reality of constraints and the opportunities for flexibility. Moving up the ladder from one role to another will require you to take on greater product-development responsibilities. This is a strategic decision, made in a deliberate, conscious fashion.

If you are not ready, willing, and able to make the appropriate investments, you may be better off staying where you are. On the other hand, you may have no choice if you wish to do business with U. Even within the same industry, customers vary considerably. For example, Toyota allows suppliers more latitude to participate in setting targets than does Mazda.

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Whether you are trying to build a new partnership or maintain an existing relationship, think through the contents of your new-technology presentations. Do your homework. You should understand what your customer wants and its strategic direction for example, emphasizing weight reduction for fuel economy , and know the advantages of your parts compared with those of competitors.


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What technological strengths can you provide above and beyond minimum expectations? Technological competence makes it possible to meet tight deadlines. Some Japanese suppliers have separate manufacturing facilities dedicated to manufacturing prototypes. In-house testing and prototyping capabilities are critical for quick turnarounds during the prototype-testing-and-evaluation stage.

If you must subcontract design, analysis, prototyping, or testing services, a world-class customer will question your ability to accomplish the quick turnaround that is the cornerstone of a partnership. Expenditures on development or on prototyping and testing capabilities are investments in a relationship. If top management uses quarterly returns, annual returns, or even three-year returns on investment to evaluate these projects, the expenditures may seem unjustified. The key questions are, Is this customer worthy of a long-term relationship? Can we have a profitable relationship over the long term?

Have we developed capabilities and credibility that are valuable to the customer and to potential new customers? There is a range of postures that customers and suppliers can adopt within a long-term cooperative relationship. Suppliers may play different roles for different customers. Each posture carries fundamentally different responsibilities during product development, and the customer-supplier relationships vary considerably in closeness and intensity.

The result of a mistaken choice of posture may be a long-term cooperative relationship that yields no competitive advantage. Partners top the hierarchy. These select few among first-tier suppliers can also be thought of as full-service providers. Partners are responsible for entire subsystems such as heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning, and exhaust, alternator, and seating systems. They often participate in planning a new model even before the concept stage. In essence, they act as an arm of the customer. In the pre-concept stage, the partner and the customer jointly determine the specifications of the subsystem.

Because of the complexity of the subsystem, the partner must communicate intensively with the customer throughout the cycle.

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The quintessential partner is Nippondenso. Started as a unit within Toyota, it has grown to become an independent supplier of a broad range of components that approaches Toyota in size. The supplier assumes that other customers will be satisfied if it can satisfy the very demanding Toyota. Nippondenso then designed a family of alternators built around a single concept that could be made on the same production line. The options include 3 different housing types, 9 different wire specifications, 4 different regulators, and 30 different terminals, all mutually compatible.

In all, Nippondenso offers customers more than different alternators, and it has tooled its automated production lines to mix and match sets of alternative designs.

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Standardized variety is the term Nippondenso uses for its philosophy of providing customers with a wide variety of products based on a standardized set of parts. The customer may select an alternator outside this set but must pay a premium for it. If the customer chooses from the menu of standardized parts, the development process then consists of tailoring certain aspects of the alternator for the customer—the location of mounts, for instance. The distinction between the mature role and the partner role is subtle.

Like partners, suppliers in the mature role sometimes referred to as full-system suppliers design and manufacture complex assemblies. But because they lack the technological capabilities of partners, they have less influence on design. The customer gives mature suppliers critical specifications for performance, interface requirements, and space constraints.

The suppliers then develop the systems on their own. In fact, a mature supplier can sometimes influence, through negotiation, how a customer sets critical specifications. Intensive communications begin at the concept stage and continue through to production.

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An example of a Japanese supplier in a mature role is Hirotec, a supplier of stamped door panels to Mazda. In a typical case, Mazda designs the outer surface of the door for a new car model as part of its styling process and provides CAD data for that surface to Hirotec. A door is a complex system, and all its openings must be coordinated with the work of other suppliers so that all the mechanisms and wiring fit. Mazda calls the shots yet entrusts Hirotec with the design of a critical part.

Suppliers in the child role have even less influence on design specifications. They may participate as consultants in a meeting or two with the customer during the concept stage, but the customer determines in explicit detail the specifications for the part. The responsibilities of suppliers in the child role include working out the details of the design and building and testing prototypes. Communications are not very intensive in the concept stage but intensify during prototyping, though not to the same degree as with partners or mature suppliers.

For instance, a gearshift-lever maker for Toyota does not engage in intensive development efforts for each new vehicle model. There is no need to, because the technology for this part changes very little, there is limited interaction with other components, and the design of the part is relatively simple. So development efforts begin with a critique of the existing design from the last car model based on internal evaluations and feedback from Toyota and with new ideas for improving the gearshift lever. Suppliers in the child, mature, or partner role commonly face competition with other suppliers during the design and production stages.

However, once suppliers at any level have a contract for a part, they own it for the life of the model. Suppliers in the contractual role simply manufacture parts designed by the customer—usually standard parts or commodities. If the supplier has unique manufacturing capabilities, such as large-scale flexible automation, the customer will sometimes involve the supplier in the development effort. In this role, there is little need for communication in the preconcept or concept stage. Contractual suppliers and their customers may communicate frequently during the late-prototype and production-preparation stages, though communication is less intensive than it is in the other roles.

Some U. Customers should manage those suppliers in the child or contractual role. By choosing inappropriate levels of responsibility for suppliers, a customer might waste resources for instance, by involving suppliers too early in concept sessions , compel suppliers to design custom parts when off-the-shelf parts might work, and require suppliers to add new-product-development capabilities that will not be fully utilized. If a supplier wants to move up the ladder, it must broaden its technological base.

For instance, a precision-metal-cutting supplier might acquire electronics capabilities in order to supply electromechanical systems. An upwardly mobile supplier must also have a good track record at its current level, build a relationship carefully with its targeted partner-customer, and develop an ability to innovate. Suppliers and their customers become increasingly interdependent as they work together and their business relationship grows. Committed ever more heavily to the customer, the supplier depends on it for its future revenue stream. The two sink or swim together.

This mutual entanglement—not blind trust—is what binds important suppliers to customers. World-class Japanese automakers manage product development tightly. They set clear, understandable goals and communicate them consistently to suppliers, and they use targets and prototypes to enforce those goals. It is a simple, rigid process, much like an assembly line. All the Japanese customers and suppliers we studied showed us surprisingly similar charts describing their product-development cycles—a single sheet of paper capturing a high-level view of the process and including clearly tagged milestones that begin several years before the start of production.

The Japanese process—which is essentially a management and not an engineering approach to product development—is easier to administer. The simplicity of the Japanese charts reflects years of clear and consistent communication between suppliers and customers. The supplier knows that there is a clear, though small, window of opportunity in the concept stage, before the release of specifications, when it can suggest new technology and try to introduce new methods.

Outside that window, suppliers must focus their overall efforts on incremental cost-saving improvements that will not involve the redesign of mating parts and subsystems.

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If a technological breakthrough occurs at a time that does not coincide with one of these windows, therefore, the supplier must simply wait until the next window comes along—the next model change, say—before suggesting the major design change. In other words, with a highly structured and routinized product-development process almost like that in an assembly plant , Japanese suppliers know exactly where they fit in and when, and this arrangement allows them to be innovative within clearly determined boundaries—to be creative without being disruptive.

For example, every Toyota supplier we interviewed said it presents its latest relevant developments to the automaker about 36 months before the production of new models begins. The supplier may present up to three concepts and suggest which avenue seems most promising. At these presentations, the supplier will demonstrate working prototypes and furnish a great deal of test data on the parts, including comparisons with existing or alternative designs.

Suppliers commented that Toyota engineers are knowledgeable enough to engage in meaningful discussions aimed at improving their particular products. In every case, these presentations precede any specific information or statements from Toyota about the new model.

The suppliers are able to offer meaningful new design ideas because of their long-term relationships with the automaker and their knowledge of current trends. In the declining Japanese market of the early s, however, cost reduction displaced weight reduction as a priority. During the prototype stage, as well as during mass production, surprisingly little joint problem-solving occurs. The customer lays down clear targets, and the supplier has to figure out how to meet them.

Milestone events usually represent delivery deadlines. Meeting those deadlines is crucial. In general, as many managers know, Japanese automakers give marching orders to suppliers through carefully considered targets for price, delivery date, performance, and space constraints. Then the suppliers go off and design to those targets.

There is usually little room for missing them: a deviation by one supplier will have implications for designers of mating component systems. Suppliers are expected to work hard to meet targets on time. Although customers are generally understanding if, despite its best efforts, a supplier cannot meet a target, they are unsympathetic if the supplier shows signs that it has not worked very hard. The nuances of targets are not as well understood by managers outside Japan. In fact, in Japan, targets play different roles in different supplier relationships.

For instance, Toyota views the presentations that occur before the development of a new car model as more than just an opportunity to refine a predetermined design.