This Week in Business History Episode 15

“We have consistently chosen a most difficult path filled with hardships. We must possess the will to challenge difficulties and the wisdom to create new values without being bound by established standards. You do not wish to imitate others.”

-Soichiro Honda, Co-Founder of Honda Motor Company Ltd


The ‘This Week in Business History’ Series on Supply Chain Now shares some of the most relevant business and global supply chain events from years past. It will shine a light on some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and even lessons learned from our collective business history.  This week focuses on the Honda Motor Company Ltd.

Scott Luton (00:12):

Good morning, Scott Luton here with you on this edition of this week in business history. Welcome to today’s show on this program, which is part of the supply chain. Now family of programming. We take a look back at the upcoming week, and then we share some of the most relevant events and milestones from years past, of course, mostly business focused with a little dab global supply chain. And occasionally we might just throw in a good story outside of our primary realm. So I invite you to join me on this. Look back in history to identify some of the most significant leaders, companies, innovations, and perhaps lessons learned in our collective business journey. Now let’s dive in to this week in business history.

Scott Luton (01:12):

Hello, and thanks for joining us. I’m your host Scott Luton. And today on this edition of this week in business history, we are focused on the week of September 21st in today’s episode, we’re focused on the automotive industry as one of the big Titans of industry was launched this week in business history, and we’ll be sharing a slew of other milestones and accomplishments pay. It’s a busy week. So thank you for joining us here today. On this week in business history, powered by our team here at supply chain. Now let’s start with cars. So back in my high school days, I had an uncle that invested into a car dealership, peach tree Honda, which was in Aiken, South Carolina. I spent the summer before my senior year of high school washing and detailing cars, running contracts here and there and driving lots of new Hondas. And you could say it might’ve had an impact to own me as a consumer.

Scott Luton (02:11):

My first car ever was a Honda civic. And as an adult, I’ve purchased one used and three brand new Honda Accords. This by no means is a commercial for Honda. We’ve received absolutely no compensation here at this week in business history from Honda, but rather I think it illustrates how consumers can develop a loyalty to brands and how important it is for those said brands to deliver consistently on the expectations that inherently materialize. But enough of that, let’s get back to Honda from a historical perspective on September 24th, 1948 Honda motor company limited is formerly established by Soichiro Honda and to Kareo Fujisawa. It was a match made in heaven. Honda brought the engineering and technical mindset. Fujisawa brought the capital business savvy and financial expertise together. They do big things, but Honda’s love for all things. Automotive predated that quite a bit. His father was a blacksmith and the two would spend a lot of time together working on bicycles.

Scott Luton (03:25):

By the time Honda was 17, he’d built a race car that won races and broke records, and he was turning heads. See each Euro Honda worked as a mechanic at the art show, Kai karate in Japan, 11 years prior to founding the Honda motor company, he had founded a business that specialized in making piston rings. In fact, Honda, and his first business would win a contract to supply piston rings to Toyota, but quality issues would lead to Honda. Losing that contract that didn’t stop suite Euro Honda. For over two years, he would visit a variety of factories to figure out a better way of making piston rings. Those continuous improvement efforts would pay off and Honda’s business would reclaim that contract with Toyota. This doggedness, that Honda embodied as well as enormous levels of attention paid to quality control. These lessons learned would serve him and his company.

Scott Luton (04:22):

Well, shortly after founding Honda motor company limited in 1948, the company would roll out it’s first, originally designed and engineered product in 1949. It was the Honda D type D for dream. One of the biggest sales drivers for Honda was its reputation in the racing world. Honda would win its first grand Prix victory in world championships in 1961. So each row Honda would say, quote, without racing, the automobile would not get better. Head to head competition in front of a crowd is the way to become number one in the world in quote in the market would certainly take notice of Honda’s racing exploits. The 1958 super Cub motorcycle in particular was a massive success by 1964, just 15 years after rolling out its first motorcycle Honda would become the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the entire world here in 2020, the big red wing as Honda is called, is still the largest manufacturer of motorcycles across the globe.

Scott Luton (05:37):

I hear popular models are the CBR, the gold wing and the CRF, but amazingly enough, the super Cub model is still being manufactured. You know, I’ve never written a Honda motorcycle. So I wouldn’t know, but as I mentioned, I’ve owned numerous Honda automobiles. So let’s learn more about that component of the Honda story on June 11th, 1959, American Honda motor company incorporated, and would be formed in Los Angeles, California, just 14 years after the end of world war two, the power of business would have Japanese and American business people working together 10 years after forming the American subsidiary. The Honda in 600 would be the first car sold in the U S also called the 600 sedan. It had a top speed of 81 miles per hour, but delivered about 30 miles per gallon. They sold about 25,000 cars, but 1972, the first generation of the Honda civic would be introduced to the market.

Scott Luton (06:39):

It would be a game changing vehicle for Honda, the automotive manufacturer. It came in a variety of two, three, four, and five door models with the fuel crisis in the U S in the 1970s in place. The innovative CBCC engine that debuted in the civic in 1973 was popular. As you could fuel it with unleaded or leaded, gasoline, providing flexibility for drivers in an uncertain gasoline market, the Honda civic would also become the first vehicle to meet the U S clean air act emissions standards without the use of a catalytic converter. So even if you’re like me and know nothing about engines, know this in the seventies, the other major automotive manufacturers stuck with their sane, rather dirty engines, but added a catalytic converter to clean up the emissions, right? To meet the standards. Honda chose a different path. They developed an entirely different engine that would produce much cleaner emissions.

Scott Luton (07:42):

That would be the before mentioned CBCC engine that powered the civic, the Honda accord would be introduced in 1976 as a two door hatchback. A four door sedan will be rolled out in 1979. And in 1982, the Honda accord would be the first car from a Japanese manufacturer to be produced in the U S Honda had set up a large production facility in Marysville, Ohio, and that plant still turns out Honda and Acura models for over a hundred countries around the world. All told both the civic and the accord will be recognized with countless awards. The civic has sold more than 11 million vehicles here in the States and the popular court has sold more than 12.5 million vehicles in 1999. Honda would make history again with the introduction of the Honda insight, the first hybrid vehicle to be available to the North American market. That legacy of more sustainable and cleaner automobiles would be furthered in 2016 where the Honda clarity fuel cell would be introduced to the world.

Scott Luton (08:47):

The only emission from this amazing engine was water. Vapor Honda has grown to be the sixth largest automotive manufacturer in the world. But as my dear old friend, Madsen once told me Honda engine company that happens to make cars that might well be true as not a company on earth makes more engines than Honda beyond motorcycles and automobiles Honda has evolved into a number of markets, ATVs, power tools, robots, and even aircraft. The Honda jet completed his maiden flight in 2003. It’s a light business jet produced by the aircraft company based in Greensboro, North Carolina, by March of this year by March of 2020, that is they’ve already sold and delivered 150 aircraft in September, 2020 Honda motor company and general motors announced plans to deepen their ties and share common views platforms. The two companies have been collaborating in a variety of ways for years. In fact, Honda, one of the investors in cruise, the general motors self-driving business North America is Honda’s largest market.

Scott Luton (09:57):

And this partnership offers and standing economies of scale play with general motors while China is general motors. Number one, market North America is its second most important market. What is old is new again, as the old adage goes thinking differently and creatively is part of the DNA at Honda. I really like the cinnamon from switcheroo Honda. The founder said, quote, we have consistently chosen a most difficult path filled with hardships. We must possess the will to challenge difficulties and the wisdom to create new values without being bound by established standards. You do not wish to imitate others in quote, always pushing the envelope despite current successes. That’s certainly the way to be a few other items to note on this week history for the week of September 21st on September 23rd, 1861, Robert Bosch, a German engineer, inventor and businessman founded Robert Bosch. GmbH in case you’re curious and you, what is a G M B H?

Scott Luton (11:06):

Well, it’s a specific type of business model. That’s common in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It’s very similar to the LLC or limited liability company here in the U S Robert Bosch GmbH has some 400,000 employees worldwide and had revenues of over 78 billion euros. In 2018. Bosch is known for a variety of products, including automotive parts, power tools, electronics, and much more on September 24th, 1883, Franklin Clarence Mars would establish Mars incorporated. After a couple of failed business ventures related to candy. Frank CMRs would strike gold with his son’s idea to produce a candy bar named Milky way in 1923, contrary to popular belief. The Milky way candy bar is not named for the galaxy, but rather it’s a play on what was popular in the 1920s malted milk drinks and milkshakes in 1932, Mars would introduce the three Musketeers candy bar. I’ve always wondered why it was named three Musketeers, kind of a funny name.

Scott Luton (12:11):

Initially in 1932, there were three small bars sold in one package of three Musketeers, a chocolate, a strawberry in a vanilla piece of candy. But a few years later, the strawberry and vanilla pieces were phased out leaving one solid chocolate, three Musketeers candy bar, Frank CMRs sun forest would also bring the idea for M and M’s to the table in 1941. And although Forrest was allergic to peanuts, his entire life he’d lead the rollout of peanut MnMs in 1954 upon his father’s death in 1934, farce, Mars would assume control of the business, build a global empire and net worth. When he died in Miami, Florida at age 95 and 1999, Forrest Mars was worth a reported $4 billion on September 24th, 1936, Jim Henson was born in his short life of 54 years. This immensely talented individual would change the world, especially as it related to the entertainment industry.

Scott Luton (13:17):

Born in Greenville, Mississippi Hinson would create characters that global audiences would never forget the Muppets Fraggle rock Kermit the frog Ernie of Burton, Ernie fame, the movies labyrinth and the dark crystal, his final television appearance would be owned. The Arsenio hall show in 1990 Hinson would pass this world way too soon on May 16th, 1990, as a result of developing a rare form of bacterial pneumonia. Also born on September 24th, but in 1930 was Shel Silverstein. Also one of my favorites and immensely talented American writer with a wide variety of works. The giving tree, which was first published in 1964 was a huge part of my childhood as was the poetry collection entitled where the sidewalk ends. But here’s an interesting factoid about Shel Silverstein. He wrote the song, a boy named Sue and earned a Grammy for it in 1970. This is the same song made famous by none other than Johnny Cash.

Scott Luton (14:22):

Finally, on the heels of U S Supreme court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. We remember September 25th, 1981, which was the day that Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first woman to serve on the Supreme court. Let’s wrap today with two memorable quotes from the late justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, first quote, fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you in quote, and secondly, quote, women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception in quote very well said, and here’s to a full life, well lived to delayed justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg that wraps up this edition of this week in business history. Those were some of the stories that stood out to us, you know, but what do you think, what stands out to you?

Scott Luton (15:22):

Tell us, you can shoot us a note to Amanda at supply chain. Now or you can find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and share your comments there. Hey, we’re here to listen. I hope you’ve enjoyed our latest edition of this week in business history. Be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought leadership at supply chain. Now, a friendly reminder. You can now find this week in business history, wherever you get your podcasts from on behalf of the entire team here at this week in business history and supply chain. Now, Hey, this is Scott Luton wishing all of our listeners, nothing but the best do good gift forward and be the change that’s needed. And on that note, we’ll see next time here on this week in business history. Hey, thanks everybody.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott introduces you to This Week in Business History through our YouTube channel.

Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


Upcoming Events & Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Subscribe to Supply Chain Now:
Connect with Scott on LinkedIn:
Supply Chain Now Ranked #1 Supply Chain Podcast via FeedSpot:
Supply Chain Now Ranked #3 Supply Chain YouTube Channel:
Listen and Subscribe to Supply Chain is Boring on Supply Chain Now:
Listen and Subscribe to TECHquila Sunrise with Greg White on Supply Chain Now:
Listen and Subscribe to This Week in Business History on Supply Chain Now:
Listen and Subscribe to Veteran Voices on Supply Chain Now:
AIAG Virtual 2020 Supply Chain Conference:
WEBINAR: Stand Up & Sound Off-
WEBINAR: New Market, New Mindset-
AME Toronto 2020 Virtual Conference:

Check Out News From Our Sponsors:
U.S. Bank:
Vector Global Logistics: