The new management approach based on Kaizen by all 4
The sun light is becoming weaker. I am happy, it is autumn.
Currently, economic activities in Japan is changing center industrial production only to service implementation also. For example, it is not enough just to create a new smart-phone, but also find a new way to use that phone. Consumers are seeking not only functional performance improvements but also experiences with more satisfactory usage.
In other words, it has been an era of technological pursuits and you can sell them if they are functionally good. And then, the company’s management could show enough result by independent activities by each department, such as sales, design, technology, control, and manufacturing.
However, from now on, on the premise of using the high technology that we have cultivated so far, it is required to satisfy the strong demand of the service to satisfy individual users. Therefore, independent activity by each department is insufficient.
Question: I’ve been told that improvement of service is important since long time ago, but don’t you think that the meaning of the service of the past is different from that of the service required now?
The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has 8
Producing and selling go together. We have to think both together.
The first surprise was that they recognize that the speed of the market change was extremely fast and that they were working accordingly. This was a surprise for me, but it was also what I could imagine.
The second surprise was that the people whose responsibility were “Create”⇒ ‟Produce”⇒‟Sell” got together in one place and made immediate decision. The gathering member was not the people in one department or not a big conference which one person spoke, and the rest people just listened. all the related people stood up and each of them had a white board marker in front of the whiteboard and created the active solution.
Question: Have you ever held a meeting that in front of the whiteboard everyone has a marker and discuss writing on the board?
The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has 7
“The reason why we can produce them is because there are the customers who buy them.” We sometimes forget this fact. The essay this time covers my experience about this fact.
I said “All of you have doctorate degrees and I imagined that you are doing research in your own laboratory by yourself but you are not.”
Then their answer back was “We are not responsible only for developing products, but also for selling them. So we need to work together. It is absolutely impossible for one person to do all.”
In other words, they were responsible for doing their own tasks by exploring market needs, developing products, producing products and selling them.
There were two things that surprised me when I saw the work of the American top companies.
Question: What do you think is the two things that surprised me? Please imagine.
The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has 5
How previous Japanese manufacturing was done and what is the difference from present way?
Unfortunately, however, many Japanese manufacturers currently do not recognize the true strengths that they themselves have inherently and have not made improvements and changes that make use of their strength.
Japanese people have a strong sense of responsibility for their work. And often they do Kaizen of their work without being ordered. If there are occasions that related people regardless of department and position get together, they start discussing problems or targets and often get excellent solutions. Discussion beyond department and position was a good practice of Japan.
Question: In fact, what do you think Japanese people have a tremendous strength but they are not recognized?
The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has ４
I believe the traditional Japanese manufacturing way is still strong. I will write about this matter.
When Japanese manufacturing industry suddenly made a world debut and surprised the world with its high quality products, in Japan both the president and employees are working together on shop-floors to make products which make the customers happy. I found that kind of atmosphere when I read the biographies of Kohnosuke Matsushita the founder of Panasonic, Soichiro Honda the founder of Honda Motors, and Masaru Ibuka the founder of Sony. They work together with employees and got the best total solution.
I am sure that this type approach is still important and useful management skill now. It is different from the Western top-down approach. It is done by all the people through Kaizen and these continuous small Kaizen makes big change in management.
Question: Do you see any difference between the manufacturing long time ago and now in your company?
The strong intrinsic which Japanese manufacturing industry has 2
I think that Japanese way of manufacturing is different from that of Western way. This time, I will write about it.
Production of one product always involves all departments of the company. It is unlikely that you do everything from planning to sales, production, delivery, and payment collection by yourself.
If the people from all the departments relating a product get together on production shop floor and start talking about it, I am sure that you will get many excellent ideas. The people from marketing, design, sales, purchase, production, inspection and delivery department get together. The ideas will support the management of the company. This unique approach by Japanese companies is bottom up approach and very different from the Western top down approach.
Question: Does your company have opportunities for people in various departments to talk about products together?
Change in the world and the problems with Japanese manufacturing industry. 5
But from now on, competition starts from finding real customer needs because the competition will be done based on attraction quality assuming that functional quality is good.
The important lead-time is not only the production lead-time so far but also the total lead-time starting from finding out the customer needs, design it, produce it and sell it with reasonable price in a very short time from now on.
I name this lead-time “customer satisfaction lead-time” and Japanese production companies should shorten the customer satisfaction lead-time rather than the production lead-time.
In order to cope with it, all the company skills not only production engineering and Genba Kaizen but also marketing, designing, and sales should get together.
Question : Previously quality was evaluated mostly by function but these days by attraction. What do you think of it?
Let’s hold Kaizen presentation No.4!
Recently unexpected things are happening normally. In such unpredictable days, what can we do?
“The most important thing is to obtain enough skill and ability to cope with whatever may happen. Specifically, the countermeasure is to create a condition that all the members of the company carry out Kaizen every month by oneself”.
One of the actual methods is that all the members continue Kaizen activity. Regarding this I have much conviction.
25 years ago, I had been working for Nissan Motor for 18 years. I had a chance to keep watching Nissan change drastically in real time, because I have supported Kaizen activity of Nissan as a business consultant after resignation.
Everybody knows that Mr. Ghosn came to Nissan Motor as the president while the performance of Nissan was not so good. He implemented Revival plan, and accomplished the plan in a quite short period. Since Nissan’s performance has been low, it is surely Mr. Ghosn’s ability to achieve V-shaped recovery at that time.
However, the people who carried out Kaizen with Mr. Ghosn were Nissan employees, and it is true that many parts of the big change had been prepared by these employees till then. In other words, in fact, the big power drawn with the prominent leadership of Mr. Ghosn had existed in the company.
For the conclusion, enough Kaizen power for a big change exists in the company, but most of them are usually hidden. And I want you to discover the power through Kaizen presentation.
Technical skill and technology in the future
I have talked about a technical skill and technology that I found on the shop-floor twice. This time, I would like to write how we should proceed and improve the technical skill and technology in the future.
In bookstores I can find many books titled as “Work to disappear for another several years…”or “Menace of the robot…”.
Because of the progress of a computer technology, many incredible matters happened as the world champion of Go game was beaten by the computer. We tend to feel the pressure that people are robbed of their job by robots.
I have often been asked “what do you think will happen from now on?”, and now I got a clear answer recently. Like Mr. S the plant manager of the topic No.9, we are not used by computers but we use up them. We progress and improve more by utilizing computer and do not need to worry about.
Then what should we do in order to do so? But…recently we are used to the current situation, and do not feel the needs of Kaizen, don’t we? If so, it is a big problem. There are still so many insufficient things around us.
For example, the quality of our products are far from perfect and the yield ratio is still low. There are no computers and facilities which elderly persons can easily work with in spite of necessity while population is decreasing. There are surprisingly many things to be improved.
Do you try to change all of the things that you should change around you? Then the technology for that purpose become necessary, and at that time I think that the progressed computer supports us as a convenient tool.
Recently for the motion Kaizen I use a wearable camera which is sold at the electric appliance stores. Many varieties of wearable cameras come out if you enter “wearable camera” in Amazon web page. The weight is only dozens of grams, a very light video camera.
For example, if you want to make an assembly operation video, you put the video camera on your head and video the hand movement. And if you explain the operation while doing the job, you can produce the video with the voice explanation.
In the past, video cameras were big, it was impossible to wear it. Then a camera person should take vide behind the operator. Then it was difficult to take a good picture, the hand motion not visible and the voice not clear. In addition, the operator became nervous when he or she felt being taken video.
In this sense, you can make a very good very easily when you use the wearable camera.
And splendid Kaizen plan comes out from the members if you watch the operation with a slightly big screen such as a tablet computer together on the spot.
The wearable camera is a product of recent technology. You can easily take the picture which is easy to watch clearly, but was not possible in the old days.