Change in the world and the problems with Japanese manufacturing industry. 3 | Kaizen Consultant Yukio Kakiuchi web site
Kaizen Consultant Yukio Kakiuchi web site

Change in the world and the problems with Japanese manufacturing industry. 3     2018.02.06
Big change, Kaizen, KZ Method

Last time I wrote a visible part of the changes in the world. And this time I will write about invisible part of changes in markets and in manufacturing.
Markets themselves are also changing drastically, and as a result manufacturing has been forced to change too.
In the era when all the products were sold out, it was called as the product out era and the production process was simple, mass production with small variety. At the time, on-site improvement activities that realized quality improvement and efficiency improvement like the QC circle expanded production capacity and produced great results in improving profitability.
After that, when the variation increased gradually, it shifted to the production of small-lot size with a lot of variation, which was called as the market-in era. At that time, to respond to the customer orders without making the customers waiting although with very small amount of inventory, many Japanese manufacturing industry studied Toyota production system. That helped the Japanese manufacturing industry to get shorter production lead-time and to be profitable and they got high reputation.

Nonetheless, in Japan many small and medium-sized companies have already disappeared due to bankruptcy or lack of successors. And many companies which show good level of 5S and have done high level Kaizen like removing Muda or wastes are facing difficulties that their products are not selling as before or their profits are not as big as before.
Question: The level of Japanese manufacturing industry is high represented by Toyota production system. Nevertheless, many of them are facing a lot of difficulties and struggling . What are the problems?