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Case
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Reference no. 9-692-011
Authors: Kazuhiro Mishina
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Originally published in: 1991
Version: 8 December 1993
Length: 19 pages
Data source: Field research

Abstract

Tombow Pencil Co Ltd, one of Japan's two premier pencil manufacturers, has been using a subcontractor network in order to respond to changing market conditions. The system currently faces a new challenge as Tombow moves to address a volatile business market for promotional pencils: an expanding market demanding novel products, short delivery lead time, and large quantities. To overcome growing stockouts and inventory problems, Yohei Ogawa, the company's new president and grandson of the founder, must evaluate the performance of Tombow's subcontractor-based production system and formulate a plan of action. Introduces students to the subcontractor-based production system, a system prevalent in certain parts of the world outside the United States, and allows them to analyze its performance for simple products with which they are all familiar. The analysis poses profound questions about ways to manage it more effectively and its future potential as an alternative to vertically integrated operations.
Location:
Size:
Mid-size, employees 600, USD116 million revenues
Other setting(s):
1991

About

Abstract

Tombow Pencil Co Ltd, one of Japan's two premier pencil manufacturers, has been using a subcontractor network in order to respond to changing market conditions. The system currently faces a new challenge as Tombow moves to address a volatile business market for promotional pencils: an expanding market demanding novel products, short delivery lead time, and large quantities. To overcome growing stockouts and inventory problems, Yohei Ogawa, the company's new president and grandson of the founder, must evaluate the performance of Tombow's subcontractor-based production system and formulate a plan of action. Introduces students to the subcontractor-based production system, a system prevalent in certain parts of the world outside the United States, and allows them to analyze its performance for simple products with which they are all familiar. The analysis poses profound questions about ways to manage it more effectively and its future potential as an alternative to vertically integrated operations.

Settings

Location:
Size:
Mid-size, employees 600, USD116 million revenues
Other setting(s):
1991

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