Kozo Sakano

Photo Gallery and Profile

Find out more about Kozo Sakano and his 25+ career serving the Toyota Motor Corporation & the lean manufacturing training industry.

Kozo Sakano, Director, Process Improvement Japan

Involvement in Japan`s manufacturing industry
Above Photo: Kozo Sakano with Angela Corriero and the engineering team at a Toyota related company.
Sakano became involved in Japan`s manufacturing industry in 1985 when, after the Plaza Agreement, the yen appreciated drastically. Toyota could not continue exporting from Japan, therefore, they initiated their massive globalization effort. Sakano played a key role for over two decades at Toyota Gosei & Aisan Industries on their international communications, legal & training development, cross cultural orientation and public relations.

Kozo Sakano, Process Improvement Japan; Dr. Shiba, Shiba`s Triangle

20 Years with Toyota Gosei & Aisan Industries
Above Photo: from left to right, Kozo Sakano, Mr. Hiromi Ito, Fmr. President Aisan Industries, Jennifer Juul, Communications Trainer & co-author of Business Leadership, Excel Press.
Mr. Ito was credited for globalizing Aisan Industries, having established companies in Kentucky, U.S.A, China, Indonesia & The Czech Rep. “Mr. Ito was one of the great leaders of Japan`s post WW2 development of the automobile industry.” Sakano tells.

In the beginning of Toyota`s rapid globalization period, they had no international communications experience or know how. Sakano worked diligently with Toyota Gosei and Aisan Industries presidents and management to prepare them for their global expansion. This included: International PR & Communications, Training Manuals, Legal Contracts, Cross Cultural Relations and Negotiation, International transfer of know how and philosophies of TPS, TQC, Lean Manufacturing & Kaizen.

Kozo Sakano, Process Improvement Japan; Dr. Shiba, Shiba`s Triangle
Left Photo: Center, Dr. Shiba, creator of the Shiba Triangle. To his right, Kozo Sakano.
Sakano had the fortune of meeting with and attending Dr. Shiba`s executive seminar on his management philosophy at the 2003 TQM Symposium in Hakone, Japan.

“Dr. Shiba is a great man. He really inspired Toyota`s leaders to think. He spoke passionately.” Sakano recalls.

Kozo Sakano, Process Improvement Japan

International Business Group Lecture
Above Photo: Kozo Sakano with a Russian business group in 2010.
Mr. Sakano regularly hosts and gives TPS, Lean Manufacturing and Lean 5s lectures to international business and student groups in Japan.

Focus On Customers
"Who are the customers?" Sakano asks. "I greatly admired Dr. Shiba`s perspective. "Focus on customers - whatever you do by adding to value to the company helps you. You are the customer. It comes back to you because as your company gets stronger, your family becomes more secure, your society gets better. You work to improve yourself by improving your company. You are the customer." Sakano asserts.

Kozo Sakano, Process Improvement Japan

Mars International Lean Study Tour 2010
Above Photo: Kozo Sakano and Angela Corriero with the Mars International tour group members.
Sakano coordinated this tour for Mars executives focusing on TPS and Kaizen. He organized factory tours and discussion sessions with Toyota supplier and Denso staff members. "It was a great tour. Many insights were gained by the Mars members. Especially in terms of proper kaizen implementation and quality control." Sakano recalls.

Kozo Sakano, Angela Corriero, Process Improvement Japan

Strong Relations with Toyota Executives
Above Photo: left Angela Corriero, center, Yasuhito Yamauchi, TMC Fmr. Snr Managing Director & current Executive Vice Chairman, Aisin Seki; right Kozo Sakano
Sakano has established strong ties with leaders in Japan`s manufacturing industry. He has known Mr. Yamauchi for over a decade. "I joined the Yamauchi Association in 2003", Sakano tells. "Our mission is to continue to study and develop a deeper understanding to TQM in Japan and around the world. Mr. Yamauchi is our leader and mentor. We travel around Japan and internationally investigating and researching TQM related matters. It`s very enlightening."

In 2000, Sakano and the Yamauchi Association travelled to Europe to the EFQM. "I was interested to see how Europe unite and coordinate TQM management. It was so interesting to see how globalization was working in terms of quality control." Sakano says. At the time, Mr. Yamauchi as the Senior Managing Director of Toyota; managing all plants internationally. "We got to experience the western result oriented style which differs greatly from Japanese process orientation. I think the Europeans were also interested in the difference. We learned from each other."

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