All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Education & Allied Health

Degree Program



Business Administration


Japan, Auto Manufacturing, Quality, JIT, Kawasaki, Suppliers, Inventory Control


Today, U.S. business is facing an ever increasing challenge from foreign competitors. One in particular, Japan, has seriously eroded the U.S. Market dominance in several major industries. Recently, Western management has begun to realize that the Japanese lead was created not through dumping, restrictive tariffs and the like, but by their lead in productivity and efficiency. They find it ironic that the methods employed by the Japanese were developed by U.S. scholars, but rejected by Western managers. Recently, however, the merit of these methods has been proved by the Japanese, and Western management is beginning to adopt some of them.

A recent Forbes magazine article (June 16, 1986) compared two Ohio auto manufacturing plants. The magazine's cover shows pictures of the two plants, with the following captions, "This is the Honda Plant in Marysville, Ohio. 2,423 workers produce 875 cars per day. This is the A.M.C. Jeep Plant in Toledo, Ohio. 5,400 workers produce 750 cars per day." Why the difference? The article explains that "(The A.M.C. arrangement) prevents Jeep from using a pure "Just-In-Time" inventory control, as Honda does. While Honda's parts inventory is largely stored by its suppliers, which deliver parts to the back dock mere hours before they are needed, Jeep requires a day or two simply to move 12,000 different parts through its labyrinth to the assembly line itself."

This thesis is about the "Just-In-Time" inventory control system and its relevance to the aircraft industry. It outlines the history of Japanese manufacturing techniques which link Japan's past to the evolution of modern production processes. The Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory system is explained in detail, and it is contrasted with present Western Techniques (such as the MRP--Minimum Reorder Point--philosophy). The JIT system is presented not as a "stand alone" method of inventory control, but as an integral part of a completely new management philosophy.

Presently, the aircraft manufacturing industry has eluded direct foreign competition (for the most part) and has never experienced crisis like the U.S. shoe or auto industries have. The paper exhibits why the aircraft industry has been "sheltered" from competition, and why such "sheltering" is unlikely to continue. It discusses the feasibility and practicality of the JIT system for the industry and compares the aircraft industry with other U.S. industries that have successfully adopted JIT. Finally, the paper makes predictions about the future of the industry, and recommendations for sustained growth.

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