By September 11, 2006 4 Comments Read More →

A Japan Tour "Boondoggle"

Got Boondoggle?: Japan Day 1 – Toyota Motor Kyushu

Boondoggle indeed, Mike! I am really looking forward to reading more of Mike’s posts from Japan. He is traveling with a Gemba Research “Kaikaku” Tour of Japanese lean factories. Notice, you have to specify “Japanese” and “lean” separately, because not all Japanese factories are lean. Gemba Research also does the “Gemba Pantarei” blog that I often link to.

The first link above was from his Toyota visit. This is a link to his second visit to a non-Toyota factory.

It’s really very thrilling that Mike is sharing his experiences with us.

I would love to take one of their tours someday. I do have to challenge one thing though — do we really have to go all the way to Japan to see great lean factories anymore? Is there still a mystique that lean is “Japanese?” Has anyone put together an American lean tour, including the Toyota Georgetown plant, Johnson Controls, Danaher, other good lean companies? What other companies would you include in that “American lean” tour?

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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4 Comments on "A Japan Tour "Boondoggle""

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  1. Meikah Delid says:

    Yeah, it will be interesting to take this kind of tours and see for ourselves how lean companies get to work. :-D

  2. Anonymous says:

    After visiting the Toyota Georgetown plant where my brother works, I can say nothing less than astonishing. As a graduate student in information science with a concentration in info policy and management, I am awed that corporations (i.e., learning organizations) do, indeed, exist… in America. Certainly, Toyota’s concepts have caught on elsewhere within the manufactuting community, and to ignore this domestic component is a shame. Afterall, Deming originated his ideas here, in the US. What a round-about route Deming’s ideas have taken for the Japanese to garner all the credit.

  3. Luke Van Dongen says:

    I’ll be touring a Raytheon facility in Andover Mass. in October. Raytheon is very active with MIT’s Lean Aerospace Initiative – I’m really looking forward to the tour and will be sure to post some notes and observations on the blog.

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