Starting from Need

The Oil Crisis Opened Our Eyes

THE OIL CRISIS in the fall of 1973, followed by a recession, affected government, business, and society the world over. By 1974, Japan’s economy had collapsed to a state of zero growth and many companies were suffering.

But at the Toyota Motor Company, although profits suffered, greater earnings were sustained in 1975, 1976, and 1977 than at other companies. The widening gap between it and other companies made people wonder what was happening at Toyota.

Prior to the oil crisis, when I talked to people about Toyota’s manufacturing technology and production system, I found little interest. ...

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