By YOKO KUBOTA
INA, Japan— Toyota Motor Corp.’s production methods have been studied the world over, inspiring dozens of books about management and manufacturing.
So where does Toyota go when it needs management advice? To this mountain town, where a little company called Ina Food Industry Co. makes a living turning seaweed into a gelatin-like substance called agar.
A squishy staple of Japan’s cuisine for four centuries that can be found as a vegetarian substitute for gelatin in the U.S., agar can be pressed into noodles or mixed with beans and sugar to make a sweet confection. For non-Japanese, it takes some getting used to, and so does the management philosophy of Ina Food’s chief executive-guru, who is followed by many of Japan’s most powerful leaders despite his anonymity abroad.
World-Wide Business Centres
575 Madison Avenue – 10th floor
New York, NY 10022