The Structure of the Toyota Supply Network: An Empirical Analysis

24 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2014 Last revised: 18 Apr 2020

See all articles by Tomomi Kito

Tomomi Kito

University of Oxford - Said Business School; Waseda University; The University of Tokyo

Alexandra Brintrup

Cranfield University

Steve New

Said Business School

Felix Reed-Tsochas

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: March 21, 2014

Abstract

Increasing awareness of the intrinsically complex nature of supply networks has brought the field of supply chain management into the domain of network science. However, due to the difficulties of acquiring large-scale and consistent empirical data sets, a more complete picture of a real-world supply network has remained remarkably elusive. In this paper, we present novel data that characterize the Toyota supply network, and identify key structural features using measures from social network analysis and the more recent field of network science. We show that the network structure for the Toyota supply network departs widely from the simplified models on which much previous work is based. Our analysis reveals the heterogeneous composition of the network and identifies key firms. Further analysis reveals the existence of constituent sub-networks, and we show that their structures reflect various factors, such as product categorization, geographical closeness and business alignment. Mapping the topology, geography, and distribution of productive capabilities for this supply network provides a critical first step for developing a more empirically-grounded theory of distributed production.

Keywords: supply network, inter-organizational network, automobile industry, social network analysis, empirical data

JEL Classification: C00, C19, L62

Suggested Citation

Kito, Tomomi and Brintrup, Alexandra and New, Steve and Reed-Tsochas, Felix, The Structure of the Toyota Supply Network: An Empirical Analysis (March 21, 2014). Saïd Business School WP 2014-3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2412512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2412512

Tomomi Kito (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 1HP
Great Britain

Waseda University ( email )

1-104 Totsukamachi, Shinjuku-ku
tokyo, 169-8050
Japan

The University of Tokyo ( email )

7-3-1
Hongo
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656
Japan

Alexandra Brintrup

Cranfield University ( email )

Cranfield
Bedfordshire MK43 OAL, MK43 0AL
United Kingdom

Steve New

Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain
01865 288800 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/community/people/steve-new

Felix Reed-Tsochas

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

HOME PAGE: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/community/people/felix-reed-tsochas

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