Tweets From My First Lean Study Trip to Japan, Day 1


I know many of you aren't into the whole Twitter thing, but I'm using my account (@MarkGraban) to share some photos and small batches of ideas that I come across. I'll also share them here (but keep in mind you can read Twitter without having an account there, even). That's a Toyota “partner robot” pictured above.

When Japanese company hits hard times, first action is big boss takes 40% pay cut. Then Directors, etc. LAST step is cut for workers (more)

When recovery comes, front line workers get pay restored first then big boss restored last. Polar opposite of US (lay off workers 1st)

From the Toyota visitor center: Animatronic Andon Cord Pull:    Demonstrates flagging problems so help can arrive –  #lean

I'm very surprised that Japan doesn't have the “Look Right” or “Look Left” curb markings like London does. I need to be careful!

It's still true that Japanese public company CEOs can only earn 20x a frontline worker (this is unwritten rule). Small companies 10x ratio.

I'll be back with more!


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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.

  1. andrew says

    Mark, the reason there are no look left / right, is that as you’ll see if you get up to Shibumi (sp?) in Tokyo, people do not ever step out in to the road on red………….the road can be clear for 3 miles and they wait for the signal…………that was our experience. I particularly like the lines for getting on / off the train though.

    How was France


    1. Mark Graban says

      Ha, great point. You’re right there is very little jaywalking, if any, in Nagoya. Curious to see in Tokyo next.

      I’ll email you our vacation.

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