Honda Profits from Soybeans


    I'm not sure if you can strictly call this “lean”, but I like this example of creative thinking on Honda's part. It certainly illustrates an example of waste reduction, namely the waste of shipping empty containers. Making use of trucks to move material to customers in one direction and from suppliers in the other direction is a good practice, when you can take advantage of it. That requires being close to your customers and also having local suppliers!

    From the AP:

    Honda's profitable exports from the U.S. now include soybeans, according to a report from the Associated Press. The company uses the same containers it ships cars in from Japan for exports of soybeans back to Japan, where they're used in the production of tofu and soy sauce, among other things. Honda has also leased out space on its test-track infield to soybean production, the news agency reports, and will sell a record 1 million bushels of soybeans this year. The company has been in the business since 1986, when it began reusing shipping containers headed back to Japan.

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    Mark Graban
    Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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