Tag: Japan Tour
My two previous trips to Japan have been incredible experiences, both personally and professionally. I'm planning to go back in December with a tour group I'm helping organize with Kaizen Institute. When people go to Japan, I think they are expecting to see perfect Lean practices. But, no...
I’ve gone to Japan twice now with Kaizen Institute to study Lean with healthcare professionals from around the world. I first went in 2012, as a paid attendee, and I went back in 2014 as a partner and co-facilitator to teach and lead discussions during the trip.
My guest for podcast episode #223 is Christian Wolcott, a senior advisor and director of Kaizen Institute North America and their director for Japan tours. Christian was an integral part of the team for the Japan Lean Healthcare Tour that I participated in last November as an instructor. Christian taught Lean concepts and facilitated discussions with me and the global attendees.
Hi – I’d let to let you know about or remind you about a few upcoming events that I’ll be a part of.
I hope you can join me for one or more of them. One of them is a free and requires no travel (a webinar) and other events are being held in Indianapolis, Dallas, and Japan.
Last week, I wrote a post (part 1) looking back at our visit to the Toyota Tsutsumi factory that was part of our Japan tour that took place two months ago now. See previous posts in this series. I’m going to try to do one post a week on this topic. If you’re in San Francisco, I’m giving a talk on Wednesday night about Lean, Japan, and ideas traveling back and forth across the Pacific.
It’s always fascinating to visit a Toyota plant and it’s even more so to visit with healthcare professionals. I’ve done this a number of times here in San Antonio (as I wrote about here). Often, this is the first factory visit a healthcare person has ever made. It’s great to see through their eyes (and I still learn every time too).
The ideas, principles, and methods that we’d recognize as “Lean” aren’t exclusively of Japanese origin. Many of us, myself included, draw inspiration from Toyota, reading books about them and visiting their factories. For me, I’ve had a chance to visit Toyota plants in Japan, California, and Texas, and the story is very consistent.
This tweet and photo made me chuckle the other day…
If it’s “your right” or “your left” as you’re going up or down the stairs, collisions are going to happen if everybody followed these instructions:
I’ll be blogging a lot more about my recent trip to Japan with Kaizen Institute, including the site visits and our lessons learned.
I had a few days of tourist / vacation time in Tokyo before and after the trip, which included getting to spend some time with a college friend who is currently doing some research at a Tokyo university. He taught me a great “Kaizen” lesson about introducing some visiting family members to sushi.
One question I was asked to ask during my Japan trip was to see if “Quality Circles” are still active in Japanese companies. I think the term was brought to the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s, but generally wasn’t widely adopted for a number of reasons – probably due to management mindsets and organizational culture, not a lack of willingness on the part of American workers. At GM in 1995, people talked about failed attempts at forming QCs (and management mainly blamed the workers, sadly).
We just finished our second day of our Kaizen Institute Japan Lean Tour and it’s been great so far. Follow us via the hashtag #KaizenTour on Twitter for more real-time updates.
Monday afternoon, we visited Toyota’s Tsutsumi plant in Toyota City, where they produce Prius and Camry models. In the theme of being an “eco-factory” for eco-cars, they have solar panels on the roof that generate HALF of the electricity needed to run the assembly line. Pretty cool.
Konichiwa from Nagoya!
Starting today, we have a group of 18 people here in Japan, including 13 doctors, some nurses, and healthcare senior leaders from around the world.
I’ll eventually be blogging about aspects of the trip, but you can follow along in somewhat real time via Twitter this week.
We have an incredibly diverse group, with attendees from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and Singapore. We’re going to learn a lot about Japan and Lean and I’m sure we’re going to learn a lot from each other.
I’ve been going back through my notes and pictures from my first trip to Japan in November… my goal is blog about something or share a picture on a weekly basis. Read more about my guides, Kaizen Institute.
Reflecting more on my recent Japan tour (see previous posts) one word came up in my notes: artifacts.
One dictionary definition of that term is straightforward: “any object made by human beings, especially with a view to subsequent use.”
I’m on my way home from Japan as this post gets published. I will probably take the week off from blogging for the Thanksgiving holiday and I’ll reflect on the amazing trip and the learning… resuming posts about the trip along with my usual commentary on Lean articles in the news, etc.
I saw this at a Japanese 7-11 store yesterday… a small (3 slices) package of bread. I guess it’s good for eating on the go… it says “3” on the package, but I think it actually looks like four slices of bread (better to have an even number, eh?). Is this an example of space-constrained small batch purchasing? Or is this something that we might actually find at a store in the U.S.?
More significant thoughts and content will be coming, I swear :-)
Yesterday, our tour group had a chance to visit an outstanding factory. They manufacture gas meters and they do everything from casting aluminum, creating printed circuit boards, stamping, painting, assembly – all in a single site. It reminded me a bit of old Henry Ford vertical integration from 100 years ago (which can be a good thing, this old idea).
The plant manager hosted us and talked about their “QC circle” program. This approach to Kaizen, or improvement, has been used in Japan for over 50 years and he said it’s “super popular” in Japanese companies of all types, today. That’s me, at left, standing by the bullet train back to Tokyo…
Yesterday, our Lean Healthcare tour of Japan (with Kaizen Institute) took us to our second hospital, this time in Tokyo. The CEO, Shuhei Iida, MD, pictured at left, spent a lot of time with us, talking generally about their “MQI” program – or Medical Quality Improvement. I suggest checking out their website using Google Chrome (which will translate it) or use the Google Translate service.
Dr. Iida talked about the connections between “Kaizen” (small improvements) and innovation (larger improvements) and how, together, they lead to breakthroughs. He also talked about how one is absolutely necessary for the other to occur.