Japan`s business process improvement culture and lean kaizen philosophy are quite unique. How can the strengths of Japan and The Toyota Way be adopted by your organization?
Every aspects of a business is a process - Manufacturing, design, purchasing, sales, human resources and administration.
Japan, as a country, has a long tradition of lean process management. Japanese tend to think of purpose first, then set a goal and create a reasonable, logical process to get what they want. In other cultures, people tend to be result oriented and push for an outcome- regardless of the methods they use. The ease of the process is rarely considered. In Japan, they have the opposite philosophy - they are process oriented and therefore the result naturally comes. Understanding business process improvement fundamentals means understanding this mind set.
This is the ZEN in the Kaizen philosophy.
Business Process Improvement and lean management did not automatically make up the Toyota Way of business. It grew - continuously, over time. Actually, lean process improvement is considered an endless journey and therefore, Japanese companies, especially Toyota and it`s suppliers continue to strive for lean process improvement and cost reduction.
The way the Japanese view a company is also unique. The company is the gathering of many people, many machines, much material and other resources to perform many functions.
The company is organized by knowledgeable people with enthusiasm, that can keep good employee motivation, that has a good communication system in which lean 5s is successfully implemented, that can maintain total quality control, excellent delivery, steady profit and a good relationship with its community. People can create everything. That is why people are the most important asset for the company. Employee motivation can be kept high with this understanding.
From the diary of Koji Suzuki...
A plant manager came up to me and explained a problem he was having.
Plant Manager: "The Company has a problem. Several people complained that there had been wooden pallets with many nails in the path. They have to jump over the pallets and it is very dangerous. The company should remove them soon."
Mr. Suzuki:"I am very sorry. Call They Company here soon. I will scold The Company and may fire The Company immediately.
Plant Manager: "What?????"
Mr. Suzuki: I have never seen a company that can speak and carry something. I am a part of the company. You are a part of the company. She is and he is too. Don`t expect anything from `The Company`. Everything is the result of people`s activities. The importance is what you can do for the company. In other words, for eachother."