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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.


The networked organisation; Japanese business system; Retailing in Japan; Information technology (IT); Strategic; Information systems; IT in Japan; Distribution channels; Competitive advantage through IT
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