Failure – Honda

Timeline for Soichiro Honda, the found of Honda

— 1937 worked as a mechanic but decided to get financing from an acquaintance and founded a company to make piston rings. After a few initial failures, the company he founded won a contract to supply piston rings to Toyota but lost it due to poor quality. After this, he attended engineering school (did not graduate) and visited factories to understand Toyota’s quality process.

— 1941, Honda was able to mass-produce piston rings acceptable to Toyota using automated processes even for the “unskilled wartime laborers”.

— WW II found Honda’s company taken over, demotion from president after Toyota bought 40% of company, and he had to aid the war effort by working with other factories on automation. His own factories were bombed, and he sold what was left to Toyota.

— 1946, he founded Honda Technical Research Institute with a staff of 12 working in a “shack”. They started building “motorized bicycles” with purchased engines. When they ran out of purchased engines, they started building their own.

How about that for failures and an “overnight success”? Poor quality overcome only to have factories bombed and selling the remaining parts of his original dream to only go in a totally different direction and produce what is now motorcycles.

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