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Komatsu chases 'Goldilocks inventory' as shares lag Caterpillar

Machinery maker seeks repeat of post-Lehman success in lean production

Komatsu expects a much swifter recovery from the coronavirus than the Lehman Brothers' collapse in 2008. (Photo courtesy of Komatsu)

TOKYO -- Top Japanese construction machine maker Komatsu's fine-tuned inventory management, which helped the company recover from the Great Recession, faces a greater test as the Caterpillar rival tries to dig itself out of a coronavirus-induced slump.

After the global financial crisis, operating hours tracked on Komatsu equipment took nearly two years to return their previous levels, but during the pandemic, "they have recovered in six months," CEO Hiroyuki Ogawa said last month while announcing April-June results.

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