Reinvent or Invent Term Paper

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Reinvent or Invent

Continuous Improvement, the Quest for Number One, and Coming Back from the (Bankrupt) Dead -- Company and Product Reinvention at Toyota, Home Depot, and Delta Airlines

Reinventing a company's image can be as difficult or almost as difficult as creating a new company from scratch. This is especially true if the company has experienced a kind of brand death or stagnation in its product lifecycle. The reasons for such problems can be complex. Perhaps the company has grown bereft of new ideas. Perhaps it has become out of touch with new technology or the needs of its core consumer base. Perhaps it has become entrenched in outmoded organizational standard operating procedures. Perhaps it has lost the support of its higher level or lower level management and employees. Perhaps it faces new competition, or has expanded beyond its capacity. The reasons for a company's struggles and subsequent loss of revenue can be due to an image problem, problems with the product or the product's image, or a combination of a variety of these difficulties.

Companies usually make a strategic choice, after evaluating the reasons for the company's problems, to focus on reinventing the company's core product or the organization as a whole. The Toyota Motor Company has always focused upon the latter. Indeed, one of the most extraordinary aspects of Toyota is its focus on continuous improvement of all standard operating procedures, to eliminate waste, and to constantly set a new standard of excellence for itself. Toyota is always in competition, not simply with other manufactures like General Motors and Toyota, but with itself. Most companies that are successful stick to a basic, tried-and-true formula, until changes in consumer taste, rising costs of operation, or new technology force them to vary this formula. Despite the fact that it has now trounced the once-dominant GM, and profits and praise are heaped upon it while other car companies quake in fear, the company maintains a rigorous, self-scrutinizing image. In a March 5, 2007 interview with BusinessWeek, Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said he feared that Toyota might grow complacent ("Why Toyota Is Afraid of Being Number One," BusinessWeek, 2007)

Toyota has mastered what the American public wants, as evidenced by the Rav4 and the Camry's success, but it has been also successful in retooling its image. "With a deft combination of marketing, public relations, and lobbying, Toyota has done a remarkable job over the past 20 years of selling itself as an American company. Toyota is afraid to be No. 1 -- or at least what that implies. And not just because one of its slogans is 'Run scared.' it's because the extra scrutiny could undo much of the hard work of the past 20 years. 'We constantly need to think about the potential backlash against us,' Toyota CEO Katsuaki Watanabe [said]...It's very important for our company and products to earn citizenship in the U.S. We need to make sure we are accepted' [by the American public]" ("Why Toyota Is Afraid of Being Number One," BusinessWeek, 2007). The company is sensitive to anti-Japanese sentiment, given the struggles in Detroit, and to prevent a consumer backlash, the company is targeting the American heartland, not simply with car commercials but with community outreach programs.

In many states, resentment of imports runs high. Toyota has combated this by sponsoring child literacy programs in Texas as well as simply creating a new pickup like the Tundra, designed to appeal to consumers in 'red state' import-hating areas. It has also been increasing the money it spends in lobbying politicians from the states were its plants are located "more than doubling since 2002 the amount it spends each year, to $5.1 million," and invested in popular charitable organizations in those states ("Why Toyota Is Afraid of Being Number One," BusinessWeek, 2007). The company constantly asks itself -- how is Toyota perceived where the company is located, on a grass-roots level?

In the early1980s, when a film parody of Japanese corporate ethics entitled "Gung Ho" was released, Toyota showed this movie to its employees as an example of how not to manage Americans. Then, in 1986, Toyota after GM laid off 3,000 workers, Toyota rehired them to work in its new plant in Fremont, California and the head of the United Auto Workers local at the time recalled that Toyota company executives and plant bosses were "eating in the same cafeteria as the rank and file"… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Reinvent or Invent.  (2007, July 28).  Retrieved December 12, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/reinvent-invent/69031

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"Reinvent or Invent."  Essaytown.com.  July 28, 2007.  Accessed December 12, 2019.
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