Triad Power

Triad Power

During the last year renowned business strategist Kenichi Ohmae's pathbreaking ideas on the globalization of industries and products have made headlines in leading financial newspapers and business publications on three continents. Now, in this eagerly awaited book, Ohmae integrates and expands his much discussed concepts -- to demonstrate why corporations hoping to compete in the global arena must become "insiders" in what he calls the Triad: Europe, Japan, and the United States.
Ohmae explains that becoming an insider means nothing less than full membership in the indigenous business communities at each corner of the Triad. Why? In such high-tech industries as computers, consumer electronics, and communications, the rapid pace of product innovation and development no longer allows firms the luxury of testing the home market before probing abroad. Moreover, because consumer preferences vary subtly by culture and are in constant flux, companies must intimately understand local tastes -- and react instantly to changing market trends and prices. Political considerations play a part as well: Ohmae's insiders possess greater immunity to protectionism than do outsiders. Finally, capturing markets in all three parts of the Triad is often the only way to achieve the economies of scale world-class automated plants demand in order to pay for themselves.
Which is the best path to insider status? Pointing out that only a handful of corporations have the resources -- or the product lines -- to dominate any one Triad market, Ohmae shows how joint ventures and international consortia have already given a range of firms (for example, Mazda, Ford, Renault in cars, Mitsubishi, Westinghouse, and Olivetti in robots) the local manufacturing, distribution, research, and marketing talent they need to be successful Triad competitors. He warns, too, that if destructive trade wars are to be avoided or their effects blunted, more such cooperative efforts must be made -- and soon.
In a world where the growing parity among American multinationals and their European and Japanese counterparts has made technological and marketing advantages increasingly difficult to acquire or sustain, Triad Power offers a pragmatic alternative: cross-cultural alliances that accept a future in which change is inevitable -- and where only risks bring rewards. Required reading for senior and general managers and for corporate planners and financial analysts, it is a challenging, thought-provoking, cosmopolitan look at the new rules of global competition.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 240 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743236348 | 
  • January 2002
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Chapter 1
CAPITAL-INTENSIVE OPERATIONS
Consider, first, the upheaval in production processes. Within the past decade automation, robots, machining centers, and numerical controls have increased productivity significantly in the broadest sense. These innovations have reduced the work force, expanded output per unit of time, allowed quick changeover from one type of manufacturing process to another, and permitted greater flexibility in plant siting. Translated into quantitative terms, the labor content of traditional assembly operations has dropped from 25 percent to somewhere between 10 and 5 percent of the total cost of the... see more

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