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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 is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. 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 book is the anthology 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. He is currently writing his next book, tentatively titled Measures of Success.

  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.

  4. […] trying to do Lean, but blog readers are skeptical that it’s more than a tool for GE. People go and tour Japan to see Toyota and other lean companies, but there have to be good ones here in the U.S. at this […]

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