静岡におけるプラモデル産業の分業構造と集積メカニズム [in Japanese] The Spatial Division of Labor and Agglomeration of the Plastic Model Kit Industry in the Shizuoka Region [in Japanese]
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The purpose of this study is to reveal the agglomeration structure of the plastic model kit industry in the Shizuoka region of Japan through interviews and an analysis of published data. Firms located in the Shizuoka region can be classified into the following three types: firms that were originally located in Shizuoka and entered the plastic model kit industry from the wooden model kit industry (Shifted firms), firms that spun-off from a Tokyo head office in the 1970s (Entering firms), and firms that spun-off from Shifted firms after 2000 (Spun-off firms). The product flow of these firms can be classified as either a Central type (Shifted firms and Spun-off firms) or a Network type (Entering firm). Shifted firms have formed a central type division of labor and have managed the quality and storage of the products by themselves because they want to maximize the utilization of their assets and avoid the risks associated with leaked information and the loss of molds. On the other hand, entering firms have formed a network type division of labor because they need to produce large quantities of various products in a short period. Both types of division of labor are formed on mutual trust and knowledge sharing between firms and partners with long-term transactional relationships. By contrast, Spun-off firms have inherited the transactional method and manufacturing know-how from their parent firms. They have also formed a central type division of labor because of their weak business base and the necessity to keep and control the quality and storage of products. Spun-off firms are new and so need to transact with unfamiliar partners. In an attempt to reduce the transitional risks with unfamiliar partners, many spun-off firms often interact with firms holding transactional relationships with their parent firms. It is easy for spun-off firms to build mutual trust with such firms because they are absolutely receptive to the obsession and passion of producing plastic model kits and that makes communication between spun-off firms and partners easy and smooth. With a Central type division of labor, it is important that the firm and partners are close to each other to reduce the transportation costs. With the network type division of labor, partners should also be located close to each other. For both types of division of labor, the proximity is important for reducing the inefficiency of transactions through distribution. Plastic model kit production firms are often familiar with regional partners and keeping transactional relationships. Regardless of the division of labor types, what secures the transactional relationship is mutual trust that is reinforced by face-to-face communication. The bond with regional partners is also the important factor influencing plastic model kit producing firms to come to Shizuoka.
- Annals of the Association of Economic Geographers
Annals of the Association of Economic Geographers 57(3), 203-220, 2011
The Japan Association of Economic Geography