Vadim Kotelnikov    

Competitive Advantage: USA vs. Japan

Manufacturing Strategies Used by U.S. and Japanese Companies


Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of 1000ventures - personal logo   Business e-Coach  


Comparative Strengths & Advantages

United States

– where markets and technologies undergo
constant and rapid changes


– where technologies are relatively stable and making incremental improvements is the basis for advantage




U.S. Companies


Venturing unlimited


"It's not the big that eat the small... it's the fast that eat the slow."

Japanese Companies

Improvement unlimited


"O snail,

climb Mount Fuji

with no hurry."

The Core Advantage

Making Things Better

Making Things Cheaper

  • Job enlargement programs

  • Outsourcing

  • Automation and robotics

Making Things Faster

  • Continuous reduction of lead and setup times

  • Equipment maintenance

  • Supervisory training

  • Broadening of worker's jobs

Being More Agile*

  • Considering agility as an integral part of quality and delivery capability; a by-product of action programs to improve these areas

New Product Development






Steve Jobs advice quotes

Innovation distinguishes between

a leader and a follower.

Steve Jobs


Konosuke Matsushita advice quotes

A person who can create ideas worthy of note is a person who has

learned much from others.

Konosuke Matsushita


Michael Dell advice

You don't have to be a genius or a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.

Michael Dell

Dell Inc.

Henry Ford advice

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done.

Henry Ford

Ford Moror

Akio Morita advice quotes Sony

Carefully watch how people live, get an intuitive sense as to what they might want and then go with it.

Akio Morita


Mark Zuckerberg business advice quotes Facebook

I know it sounds corny,

but I’d love to improve people’s lives, especially socially.

Mark Zuckerberg


Soichiro Honda quotes

Since I was a child, my dream has been to compete in motor vehicle races with a vehicle of my own making, and to win.

Soichiro Honda


Japanese Proverbs

Vision without action is a daydream.
Action without vision is a nightmare.



American Indian proverbs

If we wonder often,
the gift of
knowledge will come.

American Indian


Zen proverbs

Where there is great doubt, there will be great awakening; small doubt, small awakening,
no doubt, no awakening.





Continuous Improvement (Kaizen) Culture in Japan and in the West

Kaizen is a Japanese workplace philosophy which focuses on making continuous small improvements. Kaizen is constant. It is not a problem based approach. Workers come up with new ideas and submit them all the time, and quality circles meet frequently. Any hiccup on the factory floor results in the meeting of a quality circle to talk about the issue and discuss changes to implement. As a result, Japanese companies are continuously becoming more efficient and streamlined, allowing them to effectively compete with other companies which also integrate the Kaizen philosophy into their daily practice.

Kaizen and Radical Innovation New Product Development Synergy Sustainabe Competitive Advantage US ans Japanese Firms Radical Innovation Kaizen Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF) Radical vs. Incremental Innovation Kaizen Radical Innovation New Product Design Technology Innovation Lean Production Kaizen and Radical Innovation

Many well known Japanese companies such as Toyota and Canon use Kaizen, with a group approach which includes everyone from CEOs to janitors on the factory floor. This group approach has been adopted successfully in other regions of the world as well, but Japanese workers have refined it to an art form. It is Kaizen mindset and process-oriented thinking, as opposed to the result-oriented thinking favored by most Western firms, that has enabled Japanese industry to attain its competitive edge in the world markets... More



Suggestion Systems: American-style vs. Japanese-style

The American-style suggestion system stresses the suggestion's economic benefits and provides economic incentives.

The Japanese-style suggestion system stresses the morale boosting benefits of positive employee participation... More

Japanese Traditional Cultural Values

  • Not taking risk

  • Maintaining harmony

  • Not standing-out

* - the ability to introduce faster new products and designs and respond quickly to changing customer demands; the area in which Japanese companies maintain the largest competitive lead over US and European firms


Cultural Intelligence

Differences between TQM Practices in Japan and the West

Culture Dimension Scores for Selected Countries

Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Kaizen vs. Radical Innovation


Kaizen: 5 Principles

Kaizen Implementation in Japan and the West

 Kaizen Culture

3 Pillars    8 Key Elements

Quick and Easy Kaizen

Kaizen and Total Quality Management (TQM)

14 TQM Slogans at Pentel, Japan

Kaizen and Innovation

Kaizen and Kaikaku  >>  10 Kaikaku Commandments

Glossary: Kaizen & Lean Production

Continuous Improvement Firm (CIF)

3 Basic Principles of Continuous Improvement

Cross-functional Management (CFM)

Lean Manufacturing

Just-in-Time (JIT) Manufacturing

Strategies of Market Leaders

3 Common Traits of Marketplace Champions

Venture Strategies    Radical Innovation

New-to-the-World Product Development

New Business Models    Fast Company

Examples New Business Model

Bunsha: Divide and Prosper

Canon Production System (CPS)

Charles Schwab: Fast Company

Corning: Managing Radical Innovation Through Internal Start-Ups

Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry

GE: Creating an Extraordinary Organization

GE Equity: Investing in External Ventures

Hewlett-Packard: Integrating Critical Opposites

IDEO: New Product Design

Silicon Valley Firms: Relentless Growth Attitude

Silicon Valley Firms: Attracting People To Challenges

Thermo Electron: Spin-Outs

Toyota Production System (TPS)


Henry Ford    Bill Gates    Steve Jobs    Jack Welch

Konosuke Matsushita    Akio Morita