Are you interested in visiting some of the best factories of the best lean manufacturing companies in the world? Then join me on the Japan Kaikaku Experience the last week of October, presented by Gemba Research. Gemba has been doing these trips for several years and has the experience and inside contacts to do it best.
We build relationships with companies in Japan who we believe are
world leaders in kaizen. These companies have been doing kaizen in
some form for between 5 and 50 years. Each company has an active
Suggestion System whereby employees suggest and implement 1 to 3 ideas
per month, per person.
Each company faces unique challenges and has adapted Toyota
Production System (TPS) principles faithfully but flexibly. It is a
sign of their commitment to Lean thinking that they are willing to show
us the best of what they have done, believing that by sharing their
knowledge they will themselves be challenged to rise to the next level.
What types of things will we see and learn?
The companies we visit have integrated the management philosophies with
day to day execution of improvement activity. The results that they
have generated over the years are dramatic. As an example, Toku
Manufacturing is able to run nearly 300 machines with 35 people, all
because of the advanced level of Jidoka (Low Cost Intelligent
Automation) that they have achieved.
What companies will we visit? Some examples:
We typically visit two or more Toyota sites depending on
availability and areas of interest of our study mission group. We
visit at least one assembly plant in order to see one-piece flow
assembly paced to Takt Time, kanbans, Andon boards, Just in Time
delivery of materials, pokayoke, Standard Work, and other TPS
principles. We also visit an engine manufacturing facility to see Jidoka, TPM,
Standard Work, and excellent examples of 5S and visual management.
Denso is a leading global supplier of advanced technology, systems
and components. Worldwide, the company employs 87,000 people in 31
countries. They have been a long-term partner of Toyota in developing
both automobile technologies as well as Lean systems (namely kanban). Today Denso is continuously improving their operations and you will
see excellent examples of kanban, one-piece flow cell, 5S, visual
management, Standard Work, Jidoka, and other TPS principles in action.
At Toyota Home, you will see TPS in action in a high mix, low volume
environment. The work content from one unit to the next varies
tremendously, yet each unit flows at Takt Time. The ‘show room
factory’ is an example of good 5S and visual management. You will get
an up-close look at how to make large, complex products flow one at a
I’ve decided to go on this once-in-a-lifetime type of trip and hope you will too. For more information visit the Japan Kaikaku Experience at Gemba Research.