Transformational CEOs
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Transformational CEOs

Leadership and Management Success in Japan

Kimio Kase, Francisco J. Sáez-Martínez and Hernán Riquelme

Transformational CEOs questions why some Japanese firms succeeded in the 1990s despite an economy that failed – regardless of the burst of the ‘bubble’ economy, a number of Japanese companies have maintained or extended their international leadership in particular sectors. The authors argue that whilst some of the reasons for successes are plain common sense – operational effectiveness and superior CEO leadership – some are Japan-specific and point to a break with traditional leadership rationale.
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A2: Home delivery service (Takkyubin): Masao Ogura's haulage revolution

Kimio Kase, Francisco J. Sáez-Martínez and Hernán Riquelme


A2. Home delivery service (Takkyubin): Masao Ogura’s haulage revolution INTRODUCTION The haulage world in Japan has seen a sea change over the last 30 years. Nobody carries skis or golf bags when they travel to a ski slope or a golf club. Travelers by the Shinkansen (the bullet train) comfortably move around without luggage as they have sent it to their destination beforehand by a home delivery service such as Yamato Transport’s Takkyubin service. Yamato, the inventor or innovator of this new haulage system, had a 45 per cent market share in 1996 with 640 million parcels handled (Kon, 1997). In 1997, its market share shrunk to 44.6 per cent but it was still a leader in the home delivery service, followed by Pelican’s (Nippon Express) 25.2 per cent and Footwork’s (Zen Nihon Ryutsu) 9.1 per cent (Yanagihara, 1997). This haulage revolution was the brain-child of Masao Ogura, the president of Yamato between 1971 and 1987. This case addresses the question of how one man could turn around a haulier which had been slipping in the rankings and bring about a haulage revolution which changed how Japanese travel inside the country. The next-day delivery service covers almost all of Japan, enabling high-value-added articles such as accessories for mobile phones to be manufactured in any plant location.1 This signifies another drastic departure for the traditional plant selection criteria. THE OGURA YEARS Childhood Born in 1924, Masao Ogura was practically brought up as the eldest son of the family as his elder...

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