Monday, October 21, 2013

Japan Part 1 - Keep Calm and Kaizen On!

This week we are in Japan to visit Toyota. 
Our goal is to better understand  the philosophy of Kaizen.
Kaizen (Kai = Change and Zen = Good) stands for Continual Improvement.
I first became interested in the principle after reading the book - The Toyota Way. The philosophy of Customer First - Respect For Humanity - Elimination of Waste struck a cord with me.
At Lykki we cherish all three of these principals and our commitment to continual improvement runs deep in our company at all levels. Kaizen and the Toyota way is a huge subject matter to take on in this blog post so I challenge you to learn more if you are interested. Start with the book or check out
I was not able to take any pictures inside the Toyota plant but needless to say I made a ton of notes. I was amazed to see how some systems right on the assembly line we so basic and simple. One memorable time was when a person assembling a dashboard in a Camry needed help fitting it in during the allotted time he was allowed. He walked over and pulled a rope and the nursery rhyme song "Itsy Bitsy Spider" music started to play over the loud speakers. Next a supervisor walked over and observe as the line worker continued to wrestle with the part till he finally got it into place. The supervisor did not help manually or speak to the worker, he just watched and made notes on how to improve the process. You could hear different tunes playing all the time in the factory and each time that equaled communication between the front line workers and their supervisor. How powerful is that to hear and see constant improvement in real time. WOW!
Looking forward to more factory tours and visits with other businesses in Japan.