Japan Airlines and "TPS"


JAL boss puts job on the line | FT business | The Australian

JAL is planning on using the Toyota Production System as part of their turnaround. I've written before about United's lean efforts, so maybe JAL can learn from United?

JAL aims to increase worker productivity by 10 per cent by simplifying systems and introducing the Toyota production system at its airport and cargo divisions.

I wonder how it will be received that JAL is also planning layoffs numbering 4300 employees? Will that be associated with lean? Or are the layoffs a Toyota circa approx 1950 move that's necessary to save the company as a one-time event? Well, they also laid off 4500 in 2004, so maybe they're in the same spiral of layoffs that the “Detroit Three” are in?

Is JAL really adopting “TPS” or are they like so many other companies that see lean only as a way to improve efficiency and to cut costs (primarily labor)?

At least the JAL leaders are sharing some sacrifice:

The airline announced that the carrier's top nine executives – including Mr Nishimatsu – would share an open office, giving up their personal offices.

Also, JAL's top executives will no longer have their own chauffeured car.

The CEO is also making a bold promise:

JAL chief executive Haruka Nishimatsu vowed that the airline would meet all of its 2010 targets – including more than quintupling net income – or he would resign.Mr Nishimatsu said he would take a 60 per cent pay cut, bringing his base salary to Y9.6 million ($100,000).

Will any of the “Detroit Three” CEO's make a similar pledge?


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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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