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International Management Group Assignment
Toyota Multinational Corporation Analysis in United States of America and Japan
Written By: Kenneth Bell Sarah Prest Bridget Chong
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Culture Competition/ Trends Competition Industry Trends Organisation Analysis Internal Analysis Structure Strengths in Structure Weakness in Structure Operations Design and R&D Manufacturing Sales and Service External Analysis Opportunity Problems
2 4 4 5 6 6 6 6 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 12
References 18 Appendix 20
and standardising production methods. Inside we discover that Toyota has reached a global market share of 10%. the need in American culture for horsepower. most notably between the individualism in America and collectivism in Japan. R&D. with a goal to be the world’s best auto manufacturer ahead of General Motors (GM). By focusing on market share instead of profits. Toyota and Toyota America will become closer to one another in terms of product quality and production efficiency. Toyota is not without its share of problems. Toyota uses a geographic-area global structure. 3 . better understanding each other’s culture. Despite these many strengths. The subsidiary’s production efficiency is inferior to that of the parent companies. as their policy of helping customers in need of financial support is increasing the lead time for receiving sales income. cost estimation. and is decentralised. The report recommends that increased communication is the key to Toyota’s future success. the emphasis has shifted towards product quality and customer satisfaction. by achieving 15%. and (perhaps most importantly) the lack of improvement suggestions by American employees relative to their Japanese counterparts. and its American subsidiary: Toyota America. The lack of communication and cultural understanding has caused friction between operations in the two countries. A brief examination of Toyota’s competitors and industry trends reveals that Toyota’s recent growth has not been shared by its three American rivals GM. Its key strengths include product quality. although it is great for sales satisfaction. efficiency of production. By unifying executive training. Ford and Chrysler. Toyota is also taking advantage of numerous opportunities. and that any trouble for the oil industry inturn spells trouble for the car industry. and achieving economies of scale. such as forming a close relationship with Honda and leading the way in hybrid technology. with different attitudes towards cost estimation. and sales satisfaction. An analysis of the cultural differences between America and Japan reveals some significant differences.EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The following Report concerns global car maker Toyota.
Conversely. goals and opportunities. Japan is also below W.A). and their impact on management.A for individualism. weaknesses. preferring group work and group decision making. 4 . CULTURE Geert Hofstede’s value dimensions for America and Japan are as follows: Source: Geert Hofstede. America is ranked the highest in the world for individualism. seeking the best group outcomes (Bond. However. in accordance with Toyota’s own policy of constant improvement. Finally. The analysis of the countries key cultural differences is used to understand Toyota’s structure (both global and operational). 2003 There are great contrasts and the occasional similarity when analysing the two nation’s cultures (Japan and America). and its subsidiary Toyota America. its strengths. Geert Hofstede’s value dimensions show America is less accepting of power inequality than Japan. having a collective culture. becoming more dominant and is feeling less threatened by competitors. before we specifically examine Toyota we need to briefly observe the fundamental differences between Japanese and American culture. having great emphasis on individual decision making and seeking positive outcomes for the individual/family. These factors are why Toyota is increasing its market share. also its competitors. 1986).INTRODUCTION The subject of this International Management report is the Japanese auto maker Toyota. there is an outline of what the companies current and potential problems are perceived to be and recommendations of how the company can overcome them. On the Power Difference Index (PDI) both Japan and America are below the world average (W.
Furthermore. but on their background. with body contact and emotional expression the norm. Americans prefer to take risks. and believe in top-down agreement building (45% 5 . showing little (if any) emotion in business discussions. America is said to be a specific-orientated culture. Both (allegedly) have a high time sensitivity (91% and 85%).According to Hofstede’s study Japan is considered to be a masculine society in comparison to Americans who have a relaxed lifestyle and show concern for others. Yet another significant contrast between Japan and America can be seen with Uncertainty Avoidance. the main discrepancy between Japanese and American Japan prefers to plan well ahead. comparing to America who prefer short term planning. Finally. In contrast Japan is a particularistic as they are based on relationships and interpersonal trust. America is also known to be universalistic. being less reliant on rules/regulations and happy to make their own decisions. in comparison America has an affective culture. However. setting long term culture is Long Term Orientation. placing more emphasis on contracts. the differences in negotiating culture between Japan and America shown in Salacuse’s 1998 study show some surprising results. success and money. Japan is also known as an ascription society where people are rewarded not on individual task. rewards and goals. goals for long term rewards. compared with America where emphasis is placed on individual achievement. in contrast to Japan who prefers rules/regulations and less informality. Japan is a male dominated society with work taking priority over personal life/families. as it applies one standard. Using a select few of Trompenaars’s Value Dimensions further exemplifies the differences between the American and Japanese cultures. friendship comes before the contract. whereas in Japan the two are linked. Japan is a neutral culture. opting to separate their work and private life. being a diffuse-orientated society. Japan and America (55% and 54%) both consider the ultimate goal of negotiation to be a contract. aiming for advancement.
and Chrysler. Ford. Source: Autodata 2005. 6 . Honda and Nissan. Competition/Trends Competition The major players in the global automotive manufacturing industry are known as the Japanese and American big three. Differences in the negotiating cultures include Japan’s indirect (high context) communication. The American big three consist of GM. and Japan’s preference for formal negotiating styles rather than the informal approach preferred by their American counterparts. with a general trend swinging away from the American big three. as opposed to America’s direct (low context). Garsten.and 47%). towards the Japanese automakers (Garsten. 2005). All six companies compete in the lucrative American market. Japan’s belief in win-win negotiation conflicts with America’s emphasis on win-lose. while the Japanese big three are Toyota.
2001). had an American domestic market share of just 13% in 2004 with risk of soon being surpassed by Toyota (12. has been losing market share steadily. of America’s big three. who took control of the company in 1999. In an attempt to increase profitability.3% in 2004.2% share). cental locking. among other things for its slump in profits (The Economist. Strength lies in its SUVs (eg Explorer). Ford: Like GM. Vehicle electronics now account for roughly 22% of a vehicle’s production costs (Altera. and Ford Focus (Edmunds. and has a 5. increasing from 6. Attributed to CEO Carlos Ghosn. with Multimedia systems. from 23. 2005). ‘thinking brakes’ engines controlled by powerful CPUs becoming almost standard.8% share of the U.000 workers in America in recent years.General Motors: A long established American manufacturer with a declining share in the domestic market from 35.S domestic market.2% in 1990. Honda: Has an 8.5% in 1999 to 27. 2005). yet the Acura and Pilot continue to sell well (Garsten. 2002). and its F-150 Pickup. Their strength lies in their Four Wheel drive Jeeps and Pickups. However. GM has fired or made redundant roughly 25. dubbed miraculous by many. GPS. 7 .8% owned by Renault. to 18. when Nissan was on the brink of bankruptcy (CNN. Chrysler: The smallest of the big three. Its key strength is its operating margins (the best in the world). The Honda Civic has lost ground to the Ford Focus recently. Industry Trends Automotive design is increasingly geared towards the electronic components. and blames employee health benefits and pensions. Chrysler is the only one to increase its market share over the past decade.2% share of the American market.9% in 1990. 2005).3% in 2004. The company is 36. Nissan: Has undergone a recent turnaround.
especially in comparison to its competitors (Deresky. 2004). One relatively new trend in the automobile industry designed to combat this is the development of cars and trucks with superior fuel economy. ORGANISATION ANALYSIS Internal Analysis The internal analysis identifies and develops the organisation’s resources. 8 . This has negatively affected the sales of high fuel consumption vehicles. hybrid technology. and millions of dollars of research being spent on the development of fuel cells (The Economist. focusing on current and potential strengths and weaknesses (Wheelen & Hunger. 2006). In an attempt to increase their own profitability in turn. With numerous political threats facing the major oil producing regions (Middle-East and Africa). American manufacturers GM and Ford. 2005). which has increased profitability immensely. 2001). have in recent years. such as SUVs and 4WD’s.500 to the production cost per car (Levin. This section analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the organisational structure and operations of Toyota America. and have fought to reduce employee health benefits. the price of oil per barrel has been increasing (and thus the affordability and appeal of automobiles decreasing). which they claim adds $1. This information can be used to the organisation’s strategic advantage. There is also an increased trend towards production efficiency and the elimination of waste. This follows Toyota’s success with their production method. opted to layoff tens of thousands of workers. and the possibility of war with Iran.Currently the fortunes of the automotive industry lie with the international oil market.
strong management support is crucial a centralised structure. employees participate in new product development. This builds and sustains Toyota’s strong culture. including management. 2003). grouping the organisation activities. who are having industrial relations problems (Professional Engineering. by geographic regions (Deresky. 1998). compared with Ford having a centralised structure (Fang & Kleiner. Competitive advantage may arise from the production or sale of a product adapted to a particular country (Deresky 2006). 2003). whilst engaging in company songs. ceremonies and social gatherings as one (Fang & Kleiner. job security. job enrichment and led to employee commitment and achievement of Toyota’s overall goal (Jacobs & Herbig. As Toyota employs a bottom-up approach. 2003). This wellbeing corporatism gave rise to employee empowerment. Benefits at Toyota include skill improvement 9 . showing concern for local customers’ needs (Aghazadeh. Fang & Kleiner (2003. further strengthening Toyota America. product modification and share decision making. as it reduces their production costs per car by $1. as demonstrated by Ford. 2006). The result is relatively flat hierarchy and management tends to be decentralised. p. This structure benefits the organisation by focusing on activities in local American market conditions.500US. 1999). car-park and cafeteria.118) explains “management and labour share a common oneness in an effort to minimise the differences”. However.Structure Strengths in Structure Toyota has a global geographic structure. This method is most frequently used in their Research and Development department. Toyota America personnel (whether staff or management) have the same uniform. Toyota maintains a good employee relationship by sharing concerned for their total welfare and uses this to motivating employees. In contrast. Toyota’s competitor’s GM and Ford have reduced their employee compensation benefits severely.
compared with the Japanese collective culture. low interest rate loans. however. whilst leaving room for discussion by top management and staff. being one of their strengths as designers and engineers are locally employed (Toyota Motor Sales USA. A level of ambiguity is considered healthy generating creative and innovative ideas. It also creates local jobs and fulfils their social responsibility as a Toyota is environmentally friendly. 2003). management fail to give out specific and detailed work plans on these new products to employees (Fang & Kleiner. access to recreational facilities and retirement allowance (Fang & Kleiner. 2003). Toyota’s top management play a key strategic role in the development of new products. housing subsidies. Thus. in California and Toyota Technical Centre (R&D) in Michigan. Toyota’s Calty Design Research Inc. The national culture of American is highly individualist. 2006). as much as possible to reduce waste and harm to the environment. 1998). recycling multinational corporation (Taylor. 2004). provide an opportunity for American employees to experience and fit into 10 . Operations This section analyses the strengths and weakness of Toyota’s three main operations. strong guidance from top management is necessary to avoid a potential weakness if top management and staff do not interact or work together effectively and efficiently (Jacobs & Herbig. Design and R&D The vehicle production in Toyota America meet local tastes and standards.workshops. The business culture in Toyota insists on equality. 2003). drawbacks occur because of differences in the national and business cultures of Japan and America. thus taking time for American employees to adapt to a Japanese organisation (Aghazadeh. Weaknesses in Structure As mentioned above.
the annual factory capacity increases by 260. 1994). with benefits such as significant discounts.63 hours.58 hours respectively (Deresky. longer payment terms and pay early discount.87 and 32. In addition. 2003). GM and Chrysler as they had not improved their operations for some years (Strategic Direction. Under TPS. taking 24. 2003). losses in efficiency and economies of scales are experienced (Aghazadeh. with Toyota America using a global geographic structure. the production costs increase as the company forgoes taking advantages on bulk buying. adhere to Toyota production system (TPS) which continues to be the world benchmark in quality and has less workers needed to produce each car than its competitors (Deresky. 2005). However. The time spent manufacturing each vehicle is 21. 2006). Just-in-time (JIT) provided great opportunities for Toyota to strive above its competitors and the big three in Ford. recognising social responsibility and directly creating over 45. Toyota’s JIT system improved productivity Toyota America often purchases it parts and materials from minority and women-owned businesses locally. purchasing local materials reduces the transportation cost and overcomes the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Barriers.000 vehicles. along with quality (Shimokawa. 11 . TPS efficiently utilize resources to produce materials using a repetitive and reliable system eliminating waste (Fang & Kleiner. 2003).000 local jobs (Toyota Motor Sales. Manufacturing Toyota America has twelve successful manufacturing plants across America. being much more efficient than Ford and GM. Consequently.the Toyota corporate culture (Fang & Kleiner. 2003). USA 2006). Conversely. 2006). when the parent company gives autonomy to its American subsidiary it risks problems arising from the divergence of the organisations overall goals (Aghazadeh.
1998). Toyota’s external environment relates to “major forces outside the organisation with potential to influence significantly their products and services” (Bartol. and payment schemes for customers. Tein and Matthews. 2006). which provide great local distribution channels for Toyota vehicles (Toyota Motor Sales USA. 2006). whose profit margins have been increasing every year since 1997. becoming the second largest auto manufacturer worldwide after GM (Deresky. However. 2006). using these programs. which encourage vehicle purchases from all levels of society (Toyota Motor Sales USA. Toyota America therefore determines customer satisfaction with its products and makes improvement based on these suggestions (Jacobs & Hergig. External Analysis Toyota has a global geographic structure with subsidiaries and plants all over the world. in order to increase sales. Also. Martin. since it has several programs such as leasing vehicles. potentially affecting the credit rating of Toyota America. 2006). 12 . p.Sales and Service Toyota America creates excellent relationships with its dealers. 2004). a huge amount of capital’s need to invest in training salespeople to adapt to different cultures (Taylor. Toyota America will be analysed in terms of the opportunities and problems they are currently facing and their likely contributing factors. Toyota Financial Services (TFS) enhances sales for Toyota America. A high emphasis on customer satisfaction is one of Toyota America’s strengths.64). 2001. it is evident that sales profits have a longer lead time which may lead to increase bad debts. as it continually surveys its product users to target new ideas or recognise problems (Toyota Motor Sales USA. This constitutes an outstanding strength in sales for Toyota America.
Information is shared intensively but also selectively. named Toyota one of the world’s 100 best managed companies. Toyota’s Head Quarters in Japan delegate the final decision-making to the countries executives. implementing the best deal in these global markets (Deresky. in America it is President Jim Press (Herbig & Jacobs. as well as increased efficiency of information flow between countries (Weihrich. 2003). 2005). Organisations competing on a global scale (in foreign markets) are miles above the rest. 1998). 1999. 2006. productivity and quality in the auto manufacturing industry. Toyota has a decentralised global geographical structure providing diverse opportunities for the American subsidiary (Deresky. and is the envy of rivals such as Ford. sub-assemblers and distributors. all of which make Toyota a very attractive company to invest in (Shimokawa. Toyota has undergone dramatic growth spurts in global markets over the past four years. 2004). and has equity strategic alliances with suppliers. 2003).Opportunity International management opportunities for Toyota America stem directly or indirectly from its parent company in Japan. GM and Chrysler (Fang & Kleiner. Toyota sets the standard in efficiency. Toyota operates in foreign markets bringing it many opportunities for industrial expansion into certain products or services. Industry work has The recognition of being one of the world’s 100 best managed global companies provides a lot of positive 13 . Toyota America has grown to be the third largest auto producer and the fifth largest industrial company in the world (Fang & Kleiner. Toyota has formed a close relationship with another large automotive manufacturer. 2006). to enable them to conduct joint improvement activities and turn supplier rivalry into opportunity (Strategic Direction. Shimokawa. Toyota’s contributing factors would be pure global dominance (Hartel & Lloyd. 2004). 1994). Toyota can therefore expand their opportunities by obtaining relationships with other companies willing to give information. 1994). Honda. Hartel & Lloyd. The key contributing factor is worth more than the American big three put together in terms of market capitalisation and greater than Nissan and Honda in Japan.
Toyota’s latest future plans are to expand worldwide and to engage in manufacturing overseas. Toyota America is leading the way in hybrid electrics en route to ‘full scale fuel-cell electric cars’ is Toyota America (Weihrich. Jones. 1964). 1999). Toyota has driven its consumers to purchase Japanese imported Toyota cars that are high quality and fuel economic (Shimokawa. 1985).opportunities for Toyota. 1985). 1999). Further. as it substantially reduces costs through labour. and have substantial market share in other countries to obtain opportunities from. Toyota America is committed to an open trade ideology. Toyota Japan now sells German Audi’s and Volkswagon’s in its dealership (Weihrich. The joint venture yielded valuable lessons in labour-management cooperation and gave GM access to Toyota’s manufacturing expertise and provided Toyota with a manufacturing base in America (Fang & Kleiner. 14 . Toyota America is financially and legally separate from its parent company. 1994). This could be done by forming operations in third-world countries with manufacturing done there. if financially beneficial (Anderson et al. importing nearly thirteen times more cars than they export (Anderson. 1985). being independent and able to make its own decisions (Anderson et al. 2006). Toyota America could also consider doing this with cars that would suit their consumers (Weihrich. 2006). Altshuler. America should take leads from Japan’s 23% market share in their country. Companies in today’s world are ever-changing. Deresky. Top management therefore have the opportunity to make global and national decisions to expand operations and reap benefits world-wide (Chandler. With high fuel prices. as did their joint venture internationally with GM. and therefore Toyota needs to change their strategies and (accordingly) their structure when necessary. 2003. Roos and Womack. 1999). enhancing growth and opportunities (Deresky.
Press however. 2004). this just does not happen in America. appealing to their consumers (Taylor. design their product on target costs based on what the market place will bear (Herbig & Jacobs. 1999). Jim Press seized 13% of the American market for Toyota automobiles. 15 . being a global company are so diverse and financially viable. appealing to American consumers. in comparison to Toyota America being for the next quarter (Herbig and Jacobs. where as Japan wants smaller engines that consume minimal fuel. Japanese Toyota believes they can release new products to the market in half the time the Americans can (Herbig and Jacobs. therefore allowed space for this model in their market. 1998). rather than relying on engineers. The constant tension results because America wants larger engines with more horsepower. 1998). He did have a valid point. 1998). 2006. whereas American Engineers want to know from their perspective whether it can be manufactured (Herbig & Jacobs. and to decrease the production time (Deresky. 1998). Herbig & Jacobs. Americans instead of designing a product and then determining its costs. Japanese Engineers consider the impact of the car design on costs or manufacturability. 1998). international managements perspectives of the companies operations in different geographical locations across countries (Herbig & Jacobs.Problems Toyota America. being that hybrids have more growth potential. should not have seized other production until he was certain hybrids would be financially successful. Toyota employees themselves take initiative to study the task at hand. In Japan. Problems result as a form of threat from companies or industries They also result from that Toyota deal with in terms of competition (Weihrich. Contributing factors to this problem are that they need to engage in overseas manufacturing to enhance their growth and opportunities. American President of Toyota. 1998). Another problem in Toyota America is product time and the companies’ vision. Toyota Japan has a vision for the next decade. Problems arise at Toyota between American Executives and Japanese Engineers. that their problems are limited.
but workers who do not contribute are criticised and may receive smaller bonuses” (Herbig & Jacobs. On the other hand. Toyota America received 8% of employees lodging suggestions. 2004). The main contributing factor is that Toyota dealers have grown too fast. Toyota is a global operation. reduction in costs or improving morale. as they have the highest sales per outlet in the country (Taylor. as Toyota has a less structured policy dealing with integration and production (Chandler. 2005). 2004).146). being one of the largest and most recognised automotive producers in the world. operations and international management problems in the organisation. 1998). 1998). which displays negative publicity globally as they are not exactly a luxury car like BMW’s or Audi’s (Halliday. RECOMMENDATIONS Toyota America has issues and problems that were identified in the internal and external analysis based on structure. The car maker’s policy is “slow and steady”. This is Toyota executives in America admit there is a problem with customer service. something the top management need to review and rectify. Toyota America is also known to spend minimal time planning new products. 1964). 16 . rather than reactive. America also has a problem of effectiveness in their formal suggestion program. p. and will only benefit from realistic solutions and recommendations to the analysis of its issues and problems. They are also behind Ford and GM. and suffers development setbacks in a larger proportion due to lack of planning (Herbig and Jacobs. The contributing factor is that Japanese companies accept 80% of employee suggestions. Suggestions are “not mandatory for Toyota personnel. but believe they are dealing with it (Taylor. Toyota suggestion program is very effective in Japan as 65-70% of all employees’ submitted suggestions for increase in efficiency. 1998. compared to only 25% adoption in America (Herbig & Jacobs.being proactive.
There are drawbacks due to cultural differences when comparing America to Japan. Vertical differentiation consists of a mixture of centralisation and decentralisation. 2003). Time devoted to educating and training managers on cultural differences will be well spot. division managers and employees forming relationships (Deresky. Top management must also ensure they remain in close contact with employees to build their morale and achieve the most efficient and effective relationships possible (Fang & Kleiner. Also to set the same level of efficiency required for each stage of production and the achievement of economies of scale. America also needs to train the Japanese management to be aware of its culture and the differences between the two countries. A solution to this current weakness would be to have top management/executive meet electronically with all plants globally. which is a good structure for Toyota’s massive enterprise. 2006). management must ensure that efficiency and economies of scale are met. Perhaps the horizontal differentiation of a matrix design should be implemented to bring in more coordination at Toyota. to ensure all plants are expected to do the same work per worker. to ensure that common goals and targets are set. 1986). Implementation of a transnational strategy that is locally responsive and cost effective is a consideration Toyota should be aware of. Japan (being the parent company) needs to have some sort of training in their country for American executives. through communication amongst head managers. 17 . and to manage Toyota globally. They must ensure that employees know what new products are coming out and have specific plans on their manufacturing and production. Management also need to communicate and be more specific with employees when giving out work plans on new products. so they can understand the collective culture of Japan in comparison to America’s individualistic approach according to Hofstede’s study (Bond. As Toyota is using a global geographic structure.
also has programs to support customers who need financial assistance. If they receive a negative response then they should not allow these customers such a loan. This shows the public their compassion and concern. Toyota may need to put a time limit on payment to ensure they receive the money and decrease their bad debts. forgoing their discount for bulk buying and early payments. They also need to review each customer asking for this service to ensure they can pay it back in the near future. but financially costs Toyota a substantial amount. Toyota could rectify Toyota this by purchasing only from bulk buyers to increase savings on their purchases. They could also have Japanese engineers visit the American plant to show them their design. 18 .The minority and women-owned businesses are supported by Toyota. Toyota has problems externally which are limited considering their size and diversity. 1998). as they are a medium car company in terms of quality. Toyota also need to reconsider their policy of “slow and steady”. Again there are great differences between executives in Japan and America. also as Japan’s production is substantially faster. These problems need to be rectified if Toyota is going to maintain its strong corporate culture and common consensus across the globe (Herbig & Johns. as the sales may have increased but the lead time of receiving money for sales has increased also. and what needs to change for Toyota to remain consistent with Japan. learn their ways. Whilst this service also portrays a positive message to the public. 1998). Toyota may need to engage in overseas manufacturing to enhance their growth They also need to encourage employees to opportunities and decrease production time. and are hardly producing BMW’s or Porsche’s (Herbig & Jacobs. Perhaps they should have a slogan that relates more directly to their operations – like “efficient and effective”. cost and process for all automobiles. show more initiative and desire towards studying the tasks. They have completely different ideas when it comes to design. This system needs reviewing. To do this they could have electronic meetings to discuss ideas and come up with a common design. as Japan employees take a lot of initiative. They need to review their production times. it consequently disadvantages Toyota. cost and process of manufacturing of automobiles.
Toyota is leading the world in auto manufacturing efficiency. If all this can be achieved. A lack of adequate communication between the American and Japanese departments is not only causing friction. to promote them with staff. conflict between the two regions will always be a possibility. whereby employees are why they do not make recommendations and what would encourage them to do so. Toyota needs to review is their suggestion program in America.Finally. This could be achieved by staff meetings with each department and their manager. By increasing communication between parent and subsidiary. but affecting the development of economies of scale. but still has room for improvement. CONCLUSION In Conclusion. The differences in culture which have in the past served as obstacles should instead be embraced. over time a degree of consistency can be achieved across Toyota’s management. 1998). and by standardising executive training across both nations. in the hope of improving both operations. With the company having a decentralised geographical-area structure. problems and misunderstandings (such as Japanese engineers not understanding the importance of horsepower to Americans) will occur less frequently. as only 8% of employees lodge suggestions (Herbig & Jacobs. 19 . Toyota’s goal of a 15% world market share could soon become a reality. By better understanding cultural norms and values. Management then need to look at implementing these recommendations. with the ultimate aim to learn from each other.
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