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Published by:
INSEAD (1997)
28 pages
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This teaching case study describes how a Japanese entrepreneur, Toshifumi Suzuki, created and has been managing the successful Seven-Eleven Japan chain of convenience stores. His success is the result of a continuous obsession with customer satisfaction combined with his innovative strategy and an organisational solution where 7-Eleven Japan acts as the central 'information broker' in an IT mediated network (Figure 3). Suzuki created his company at a time when environmental changes in Japan were calling for a convenience store franchise solution. His 'retail revolution' could not have been possible without heavy investments in IT. The case can be used in four types of courses or topic areas: (i) the 'information broker' or 'electronic partnerships' focusing on networked organisations or new organisational forms; (ii) the role of IT in 'transforming industry structure' or how to create and sustain a competitive advantage through IT; (iii) the 'distribution system' focusing on the Japanese business system and its current transformation, combined with the emerging use and role of IT; and (iv) 'managing services' or 'managing distribution channels' focusing on the role of IT in services, its impact in changing the power balance in distribution channels, or the development of a differentiated value proposition to the customer.
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