Engineer critical of Japanese work style


A new book is out, written by an American engineer who worked for a Toyota supplier in Japan. It's been almost 10 years since he worked there, according to this article, that's a long wait to get a book out.

Like many of us, the author thought:

“Before I went, I was probably a typical American, thinking their work system was far superior to ours,” he said. He admired the idea of respecting the workers and producing high-quality vehicles

But, he became disillusioned.

“Throughout the book, Mehri traces his growing concern with the company methods, including what he says are too-fast assembly lines and too much machinery crammed into too little space.

Although he worked as an engineer, Mehri said he interviewed several factory workers for his book. He said some workers completed 36-hour shifts.”

I guess what he was seeing was an example of poor lean implementation, even though it was a Toyota supplier and in Japan. I guess neither of those things are indicators that lean would be done properly. We learned, even as far back as the book The Machine That Changed The World, that not all Japanese companies are as good as Toyota.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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