21 December 2005
True out-of-the-box thinking
Auto parts from Japan arrive at Honda's Marysville, Ohio plant in huge shipping containers. Sending them back empty is not particularly difficult, but it costs money, so Honda built a plant next door to process, of all things, soybeans.
Really. The Autoextremist reports that Honda has been buying soybeans from a couple hundred Ohio farmers (there are a few in Michigan also) at about a buck above the going rate per bushel, then ships them back to Japan in those cargo containers. Honda's willing to pay that premium because they insist on beans with high uniformity and with no genetic modifications, in accordance with the demands of the Japanese market. Last year Honda's Harmony Agricultural Products In Ohio division exported nearly a million bushels of soybeans and made about $10 million in the process, a brilliant example of a profitable niche market developed to avoid an expense.Posted at 1:08 PM to Entirely Too Cool