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Authors: Alan Pilkington
Published by: University of California, Berkeley
Published in: "California Management Review", 1998

Abstract

The long-term trend of manufacturing management to adopt ''best practice'' has had an expressed preference for Japanese production systems as a means of generating industrial success. While commentators have noted the lack of correlation between imitation and competitive advantage, one of the reasons for this failure - namely, the very range of operating methods among Japanese producers - has not been so fully explored. This article uses evidence from the UK automobile industry to illustrate the disappointing impact of Japanization and best-practice, and it suggests that managers should concentrate on the development of strategic competencies and the aligning of manufacturing with corporate strategy.

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Abstract

The long-term trend of manufacturing management to adopt ''best practice'' has had an expressed preference for Japanese production systems as a means of generating industrial success. While commentators have noted the lack of correlation between imitation and competitive advantage, one of the reasons for this failure - namely, the very range of operating methods among Japanese producers - has not been so fully explored. This article uses evidence from the UK automobile industry to illustrate the disappointing impact of Japanization and best-practice, and it suggests that managers should concentrate on the development of strategic competencies and the aligning of manufacturing with corporate strategy.

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