Toyota Case Study Analysis

The Problem

Each year, Toyota offers its worldwide marketing subsidiaries a range of vehicles with some 20 million configuration options. Each subsidiary can additionally market a range of locally fitted options ranging from specialist upholstery and trim through to in-car entertainment and navigation systems. From the options available, Toyota GB must create the range which is most likely to succeed in the UK market.

 Toyota GB provides a full range of service options, including customisation, which must be supported by a production-like workflow, and the supply of spare parts across the full lifecycle of each model.

 To operate successfully, the company must be able to understand trends within the marketplace and respond swiftly to opportunities and challenges. The objective was therefore to develop systems which would support the decision-making process by integrating market intelligence, sales (and lost sales) information and service requirements with brand development, range definition and pricing. The complexity is in the sheer number of permutations available.

 Such an objective cannot be attained overnight. It is not just a matter of replacing systems; whilst that is not simple, the biggest challenge was in managing the business change which accompanied it.

 To meet these challenges, Toyota developed a progressive approach which would allow each major component to be specified, implemented, verified and adopted before moving on to the next. This supported the need for a sound business change strategy, but had significant ramifications for the implementation of the systems themselves as each new or replaced business application had to be absorbed by the user community whilst its predecessor and supporting legacy applications remained operational behind the scenes.

 It is vitally important that such an approach is driven by the business architecture so that dependencies between components are recognised by the sequence of implementation. At the core of the Toyota business architecture is the product lifecycle, around which all business critical systems revolve. The development of a product model and support for Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) was therefore the first priority. Having demonstrated the capabilities of both opentaps and its team, 1Tech were engaged to advise on and implement Product Lifecycle Management, working with in-house legacy system teams to develop a homogeneous solution.

Toyota Motor Corporation addresses the internal and external strategic factors in the business, as identified in this SWOT analysis. The SWOT framework pinpoints the most significant opportunities, threats, and organizational weaknesses that Toyota must address using its strengths. As a global leader in the automotive industry, Toyota effectively addresses such factors. This SWOT analysis provides insights about the possible influences on the company’s business. Toyota’s high performance serves as an indicator of its ability to address the issues enumerated in this SWOT analysis.

Toyota’s SWOT analysis shows that the company remains strong in the global automobile market, although issues related to competition, organizational structure, and corporate culture must be addressed.

Toyota’s Strengths (Internal Strategic Factors)

Toyota’s strengths indicate that the firm is capable of keeping its position as one of the top auto manufacturers in the world. This element of the SWOT analysis model identifies the internal strategic factors that serve as capabilities of the firm. Toyota’s main strengths are as follows:

  1. Strong brand image
  2. Global supply chain
  3. Rapid innovation capabilities

Toyota has one of the strongest brands in the global automotive industry. The company’s global supply chain is also a strength that enables resilience and market-based risk minimization. Furthermore, Toyota has an organizational culture that facilitates rapid innovation, which is crucial for long-term competitive advantage. This part of the SWOT analysis shows that Toyota’s strengths support its position as one of the biggest automobile manufacturers in the world.

Toyota’s Weaknesses (Internal Strategic Factors)

Toyota’s weaknesses point to possible inefficiencies in the organization. This element of the SWOT analysis model determines the internal strategic factors that serve as obstacles to business growth. Toyota’s main weaknesses are as follows:

  1. Hierarchical organizational structure
  2. Secrecy in organizational culture
  3. Effects of product recalls in recent years

Toyota’s global hierarchical organizational structure prevents maximum flexibility of regional operations. Also, the company’s culture of secrecy is a weakness that reduces response times in addressing emerging problems. In addition, Toyota implemented massive product recalls starting in 2009. These recalls weaken the firm because the recall processes consume business capacity that could be used for product distribution instead. This part of the SWOT analysis shows that Toyota could improve its performance through adjustments to reduce the weaknesses based on its organizational structure and culture.

Opportunities for Toyota (External Strategic Factors)

Toyota’s opportunities are mainly based on technological and economic trends. This element of the SWOT analysis model identifies the external strategic factors that the firm could use to improve its business. Toyota’s most significant opportunities are as follows:

  1. Growing markets in developing countries
  2. Rising demand for fuel-efficient automobiles
  3. Growing interest in advanced electronics in vehicles
  4. Weak Japanese Yen vs. U.S. Dollar

Developing markets present the opportunity for Toyota to increase revenues by further penetrating these markets. Also, the current trends of increasing demand and interest for higher fuel efficiency and advanced electronics present the opportunity for Toyota to focus its innovation on these directions. In addition, the weaker Japanese Yen versus the U.S. Dollar means higher competitiveness of products and components exported from Japan to the U.S. This part of the SWOT analysis shows that Toyota must emphasize market penetration and innovation to exploit its opportunities.

Threats Facing Toyota (External Strategic Factors)

The threats to Toyota’s business are based mainly on the competitive landscape. This element of the SWOT analysis model determines the external strategic factors that could reduce the firm’s performance. In Toyota’s case, the main threats are as follows:

  1. Growing market presence of low-cost competitors
  2. Rapid innovation of competitors

Toyota faces the threat of competition with low-cost automobiles from Korean, Chinese and Indian manufacturers, which have been increasing their presence in foreign markets. Toyota also experiences the threat of rapid innovation of competitors like GM, Honda, and Ford. This part of the SWOT analysis shows that Toyota must ensure competitive advantage, such as through innovation.

Recommendations based on Toyota’s SWOT Analysis

Toyota’s SWOT analysis identifies key issues, such as the effects of competition and the company’s weaknesses based on its organizational structure and culture. To address the threats based on competition, Toyota needs to maximize its competitive advantage based on its innovative capabilities. The company can also further adjust its culture and structure to optimize its flexibility in decision-making and problem solving.

References
  • Hill, T., & Westbrook, R. (1997). SWOT analysis: it’s time for a product recall. Long Range Planning30(1), 46-52.
  • Jackson, S. E., Joshi, A., & Erhardt, N. L. (2003). Recent research on team and organizational diversity: SWOT analysis and implications. Journal of Management29(6), 801-830.
  • Pickton, D. W., & Wright, S. (1998). What’s SWOT in strategic analysis? Strategic Change7(2), 101-109.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation (2015). Figures.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation Annual Report 2015.

Automobile Industry, Automotive Industry, Case Study & Case Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Toyota

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