Learning From Japan

Like countless suppliers before him, James J. Lohman was seething as he left a 1985 meeting in Detroit. Three years earlier he had mortgaged his company, Excel Industries Inc. in Elkhart, Ind., to develop a better way to make car windows. His innovations promised to help Ford Motor Co., Excel's top customer, slice inventory and assembly costs. Yet now, Ford was planning to bring the technology in-house--a move that would ravage Excel.

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