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Mapping out the Toyota supply network: The emergence of resilience

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Abstract: We assemble a large-scale empirical dataset that enables us to examine the topology of relationships between firms in the Toyota supply network, and propose novel measures to characterise its resilience and robustness. Our findings show that Toyota’s supply network is complex, and simple linear supply chain models are inadequate, because they neglect important lateral dependencies. An exponentially scaled degree distribution means that disruptions at randomly chosen suppliers have little global impact but disruptions at highly connected suppliers or product hubs are significant. Vulnerabilities are mitigated by the network’s ‘small-world’ and cooperative structure, especially within its Kyoho-kai supplier association. Additional strengths against disruptions include high degrees of product redundancy and product diversification in upper tiers. The analysis aims to move the field of supply chain management beyond stylised facts, and to demonstrate how methods from interdisciplinary work on complex networks can contribute novel insights.

This talk is part of the DIAL seminars series.

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