This article discusses the results of research carried out in Japan in the early 1990s. This work was undertaken to understand how Japanese manufacturers gain significant competitive advantage. It was postulated that a major part of this advantage came from the role of suppliers and the relationship that final assemblers maintained with such firms. The research program was drawn up to study a group of Japanese manufacturing firms - 8 final assemblers and 36 suppliers-to understand how these firms interacted. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaire surveys were utilized to collect data.
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