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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Photo of the day

During LSI's Blackbelt Final Presentation, one of the Blackbelts
cooks a gourmet meal of sauteed shrimp to show the power of Standard
Operating Procedures (SOP).  It was perhaps one of the most
unusual presentations that we've had!

Lean Problem Solving in Puerto Rico

From time to time, Lean Sensei takes its project to unexpected locations.  After all, life is a bit boring if everything was predictable.
Here's a video of our most popular Executive Program (Lean Problem Solving) which was held in Puerto Rico some time ago.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toyota's New Steering Wheel Knows If You're Having A Heart Attack

Source: Fast Company

Toyota is reportedly working on a steering wheel with an electrocardiogram (ECG) built in. In the future, your car will be able to tell you if you have arrhythmia--or even if you're having a heart attack.
The setup is simple: Contact sensors embedded in the steering wheel detect abnormal heart rhythms via the driver's hands. Toyota recently showed off a Prius outfitted with the steering wheel to a group of reporters at one of its Japan facilities, according to Medgadget. The ECG info was shown on the in-car navigation screen--meaning that one day, you could casually check your heart rate along with the weather and local news.

Toyota isn't the only automaker that wants to put health-related technology in its vehicles. Ford is also working on a car seat with a built-in heart rate monitor, which can measure the human heartbeat through clothing without any need for skin contact.

Why, you may ask, would you possibly need to know your heart rate while in a car? A daily reading of your heart could result in patterns that might not be seen at your less-than-annual physical. Perhaps more importantly, with the number of Americans aged 65 and older projected to more than double by 2050, it's not unreasonable to expect the amount of in-car health incidents to increase accordingly. If a vehicle can detect that a driver is having a heart attack, alert him to pull over, and then automatically call 911, many lives could be saved.

No word on when Toyota plans to release its heart attack-detecting steering wheel, or whether it will be an optional add-on for health-conscious drivers.

Photo of the day

Mike Hoseus (co-author of Toyota Way books) and David Chao at a recent LSI Executive Program

Social Media Revolution

An interesting video from youtube about social media and its impact on our world:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A senior lean leader at Walmart comments on LSI program

LSI's lean programs are appreciated and respected by companies world-wide.  After taking LSI's Blackbelt and Executive program called Lean Problem Solving (LPS), a senior lean leader at Walmart makes a comment about his experience.
LSI is flattered by his comments and we hope that we can continue to provide first-rate lean programs to all participants.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Photo of the day

Germany during LSI Europe Lean Tour May 2011

Just for fun: LSI Monster Mash

Can you identify the LSI coaches that are in this LSI version of the monster mash video?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Quote of the day

Photo: Shinjuku, Japan

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

Henry Ford

Friday, July 22, 2011

Greenbelts coming up

Our most popular certification program is the Lean Greenbelt, which is being offered in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Toronto.
Greenbelt Certification programs are experiential,  hands-on programs.  Participants learn the basics of lean as well as more advanced topics.  Approximately 20% of the time is spent in a classroom or workshop setting. The majority of the time is spent implementing and developing solutions through kaizen-style sessions at actual operating companies. 

Our belief is that you learn by actually doing, vs simply listening to a lecture.  Our philosophy is based on the gemba principle of doing the work where it actually happens.

Greenbelt consists of three important modules that are one week each in length. It is our most important intermediate program and the class is typically full 2 to 3 months in advance. LSI was the first pioneers of the Lean Greenbelt, and it is now recognized as the industry-leading programs by such companies as CP Rail, Vancouver Coastal Health, First West Credit Union, Sauder Moulding & Millwork, Purdy's Chocolates, Canadian Mint, Kudu Industries, Alpha Technologies, and hundreds of companies across the world.

The Greenbelt is also offered in two tracks:  Greenbelt for operations and Greenbelt for Service. The operation version is aimed at companies that have operating framework, such as manufacturing, distributors, and supply chain companies. The Greenbelt for Service is designed for companies that are non-manufacturers, or for people who are in non-operational roles within a company.  The focus is on service-related lean activities.

Please take a look at the overview video below:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quote of the day

"You can't always change the direction of your life, nor can you predict exactly what is going to happen in your future. But it's the twists and turns in life that bring new insights, new challenges, and new ideas - because without surprises, life is too predictable.  Embrace change and appreciate challenges; they are the fuel of life."

David Chao

Photos of the day

Comedy show networking dinner with Blackbelts

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tesla Drive Review

David Chao, founder and president of LSI, is an avid automotive enthusiast. Did you know that he also writes car reviews on his spare time? (as if he has any spare time).  His weekly automotive columns reach more than 3 million readers across 25 newspapers throughout Canada.  He is a member of the prestigious Automotive Journalists Association of Canada.
Recently, he test drove the pure electric Tesla vehicle in San Francisco area:

By David Chao

Without question, the Tesla Roadster is one of the world’s truly special sports cars. Not just because it’s fast, powerful, and a blast to drive, but because it is all of these things while also being the first-ever mass-produced, all-electric car.
Specializing in electric drive technology, Tesla’s founders knew that they wouldn’t have the expertise to develop a new car from scratch, and didn’t expect to find it near their headquarters in Silicon Valley. Instead, the company made arrangements with British automaker Lotus Cars to purchase nearly complete Elise roadsters. Fitted with Tesla’s patented electric motor and battery system, the small and nimble Elise became something the world had never seen before: the Tesla Roadster.
Introduced in 2006, the Roadster went into production in 2008, and will wind up in early 2012, when Tesla’s contract with Lotus ends. To date, there have been roughly 1,700 sold worldwide, making the Roadster an absolute success and paving the way for Tesla’s next vehicle: the Model S sedan. The company has even taken over the NUMMI manufacturing plant in Fremont, California (which previously built Toyota and GM vehicles) and renaming it the Tesla Factory.
Beyond the fact that it’s ridiculously fast, holding its own against the much-more expensive Porsche 911 Turbo, what sets the Roadster apart is its seamless fusion of high technology and automotive design. It runs nearly silent, with the tires generating more noise than the motor, and since there are fewer moving parts the Roadster only needs to be serviced once a year. Tesla will even send technicians to your house to run diagnostics and update software.
On the road, the Roadster is an absolute joy—though it “feels” very different from conventional sports car. Since electric motors spool up so quickly, maximum torque is available in an instant. As a result, the Roadster’s computers are tasked with limiting initial acceleration in order to prevent the whiplash that would result from applying nearly 300 lb-ft of torque to a stationary object.
Of course, the Roadster isn’t a car for everyone and has its share of flaws—mostly in the realm of comfort and features. As such, it’s best to see it for what it really is: proof of concept. And with the concept proven in spades, Tesla can get down to serious business with the Model S and beyond.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to drive this vehicle at Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, just outside San Francisco.


As noted, each Roadster begins life as a Lotus Elise sold to Tesla as a “glider”; essentially a complete vehicle without a drivetrain. That’s a heck of a starting point, as the Elise has long been recognized as the epitome of the pocket-rocket two-seater, proving especially popular as a short-track hobby racer.
As the Elise nears the end of its second generation, the exterior is starting to show its age. Of course, when there are so few of them on the road—Tesla or Elise—it’s easy to make the case that the car will continue to stand out from the crowd. Helping that along, Tesla offers 14 different exterior colours for the carbon-fibre body, from slick silvers to a hue known as “Very Orange”.
The interior is simple and straightforward, with a Spartan quality that suits the Roadster. It’s a far cry from the high-tech interiors found in most hybrid luxury cars, with an almost “prototype” feel that belies the sophistication hidden inside. That being said, if you’re looking for a luxurious interior then there are better choices out there.
Similarly, fit and finish is merely okay, which is understandable given how new Tesla is to the production-car scene. Expect things to improve with the introduction of the Model S sedan, which was designed entirely by Tesla.


The Roadster’s drivetrain involves a 375-volt induction air-cooled electric motor powered by a 53kWh Lithium-Ion battery pack. The base model is rated at 288-hp and 273 lb-ft of torque, while the upgraded Sport is tuned for 288-hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Tesla states the car’s range to be up to 394km.
There’s nothing quite like driving the Roadster, due mostly to the instantaneous power delivery. It’ll launch you from 0-96km/h in just 3.9 seconds (3.7 in the Sport), and the loudest sound will be the wind rushing over the open top.
There’s only one forward gear, and when you let go of the brake the car starts to creep forward. Lift off the gas at speed, and the regenerative-braking system will immediately kick in to slow the car down while recharging the battery, enabling drivers to manage and minimize energy lost to braking.
With unpowered steering and a small footprint, the rear-wheel-drive Tesla takes a very basic and down-to-earth approach to handling that is extremely fun and rewarding, though a bit of a chore at times. An optional adjustable suspension has ten settings to vary ride comfort and performance.


If you’ve ever seen a Tesla or an Elise up close, you know that this isn’t a very big car. It’s tiny, and that means getting in and out is not easy—even for smaller folks. Once you’re in, you’ll find the Roadster to be tight, with minimal leg and arm room. But then again, this is a “pure” sports car!
Despite the battery pack taking up a half-ton of space behind the seats, there is a trunk at the very rear of the car; just don’t expect to put much into it. You can put a golf bag in it, along with a few other items, but weekend trips for two will require soft and squeezable luggage.
One interesting improvement since the car went on sale is the addition of a push-button drive console for Park, Drive, Neutral, and Reverse, replacing a shifter that wasn’t of much use and took up valuable space in the confined cabin.
The Tesla retains the Elise’s soft-top cloth roof—which will eat up some of the cargo area—and few cars offer the open-air thrill of the eerily quiet roadster. A carbon-fibre hardtop is also available.


Starting at US$109,000, the Roadster comes in base and Sport trims.
Standard equipment includes ABS, traction control, cruise control, air conditioning, soft-top roof, heated seats, touchscreen LCD for vehicle information, power windows and door locks, tire-pressure monitoring system, and front airbags.
Additional features, available as options or standard on the Sport, include premium leather or Microfiber seats, an executive leather package, carbon fibre package, hardtop roof, solar guard windshield, and a 400W sound system with seven speakers, GPS, and back-up camera.
Tesla advertises that the Roadster can be charged completely in four hours, but the equipment to do so will cost you an extra US$1,950, plus installation. It’s called the High Power Wall Connector, and a certified electrician can install it in your garage.
When you’re out and about, the Universal Mobile Connector (US$1,500) will charge the car fully in six hours through a dryer plug, and ten adapters are available for US$100 each. Or you can stick with the Spare Mobile Connector that comes with the car, which plugs into a standard household outlet, but takes 30+ hours.

Comments on Japan's Soccor Win

Japan wins Women’s Soccer World Cup in Germany (July 18 Frankfurt)

Japan’s national team, Nadeshiko won the World Cup against USA this week in Frankfurt, Germany.  Their victory is all the more remarkable, considering that they were labeled as the underdog, having never won against the US (3 ties and 21 losses to be exact).  The team’s spirit of perseverance finally paid off as they stood up against the powerful US attacks.  They tied twice to finally cinch a win in the penalty kick competition.  The match was one of the most watched in cable TV history.  

Japanese society has historically been known as a male-dominated society.  It was true till the 80s, but no longer!  The Men’s national soccer team only went to up to one of the top eight in the World Cup.  The women’s team is now number one.  In the recent Olympic Games. Japanese women won more medals than men.  In Japanese society lately, two terms have arisen - soushoku-kei danshi and nikushoku-kei joshi – meaning herbivorous boys versus carnivorous girls.  The perception is that boys are becoming more passive and gentle while girls are being recognized as becoming more active and aggressive.  This World Cup win could be a symbolic event for the female-dominated society in Japan.  Boys!  Where are you?  

Interestingly, the women’s soccer team name, is Nadeshiko which means a pink flower such as the Dianthus.  It has long been used to symbolize the virtues of grace, strength and gentleness in Japanese women.  Before winning the cup, the soccer team shared that they would dedicate their efforts to the people hit by the tsunami, in March.  Team Nadeshiko has brought encouragement and hope to the people and victims of this devastating tsunami, in the best way, they could.  Congratulations Nadeshiko!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Photos of the day

These are all photos taken on March 11, 2011 during
our Japan Lean Tour (the day of the earthquake)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Funny Sushi Experience

This video was created ad hoc at a sushi restaurant during last year's Japan Lean Tour program. For some reason, it ended up being a funny video.... take a look!

Transforming the world - quote of the day

"No one has ever transformed or influenced the world by simply doing the 'normal' or 'ordinary' things.  The only people in the world that have made a difference in someone lives or made history are those people who stepped outside the box and took bold steps into unknown.  If words like 'extraordinary,' 'passion,' and 'challenge' excite you, then don't waste any more time just sitting around - go and venture out and explore new ideas, new territories, and new thoughts. Life is meant to be embraced and passionate.  Inspire someone and be inspired by something."
David Chao

Ten Honda Manufacturing Facilities in North America Achieve Zero Waste Sent to Landfill

4.4 billion pounds of waste eliminated in 10 years
Source: Honda Press
Honda announced today that it has achieved one of the most important targets in the company's longstanding "Green Factory" initiative in North America: zero-waste-to-landfill. Ten of 14 Honda manufacturing plants in North America are now operating with zero waste to landfill, while the remaining four plants are functioning with "virtually zero" waste to landfill.
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, in Lincoln, Ala., became the first zero-waste-to-landfill auto plant in North America at the outset of production in 2001, setting off an industry-leading trend within the company. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, in Greensburg, Ind., also started production as a zero-waste-to-landfill plant in 2008.
Waste sent to landfills has been dramatically reduced at Honda auto plants throughout North America—from 62.8 pounds of industrial waste to landfills for every automobile produced in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001(FY2001), to an estimated 1.8 pounds per automobile in the current fiscal year 2012. Among all of its 14 plants in North America, Honda now sends less than one-half of 1 percent of all operating waste to landfills. Remaining waste product is either recycled or used for energy recovery.
"This is an important achievement and a tremendous reflection on the commitment and continuous effort of Honda associates throughout our company over the past 10 years to reduce waste from Honda's production operations," said Karen Heyob, manager at Honda of America, Mfg, Inc., who is responsible for Honda's green factory initiatives in North America. "This is an even more significant achievement when you consider that we also produce in North America the engines and transmissions that power our products."

Since the establishment of zero-waste-to-landfill production in its Alabama plant in 2001, Honda has undertaken a major initiative at plants throughout the region to eliminate landfill waste. To understand what comprised each plant's landfill waste, Honda associates went "Dumpster diving," looking at the composition of the waste material resulting from all of its production activities.
On the basis of these findings and subsequent investigations, Honda associates at all 14 plants in North America have identified and implemented hundreds of waste-reduction and waste-recycling initiatives. These initiatives run the gamut, from the reduction of offal (metal scrap) in stamping processes, to improved parts packaging for ease of recycling, to the minimization of paper and plastic waste from cafeterias. As a result of these efforts over the past 10 years, the company has prevented an estimated 4.4 billion pounds of waste material from being sent to landfills, which is equivalent to the amount of household waste produced by 2.8 million Americans, roughly the population of Chicago, in a single year.

Many of the waste-reduction and recycling activities were undertaken through Honda's associate involvement programs, including its "NH Circle" quality circles, where teams of associates throughout the company engage in an annual competition to improve Honda's value to its customers and society, with a strong focus on efficiency, cost and waste reduction.
"There are hundreds of stories of associate innovation and challenging spirit that add up to this significant advancement in our commitment to more environmentally responsible manufacturing," added Heyob. "And while it is an important milestone, it is not the end of the race for Honda, as we continue to work to eliminate waste, improve energy efficiency and reduce the total environmental footprint of producing Honda products in North America."
Examples of Honda associates' waste reduction initiatives include:
Engine plants in Ohio, Alabama and Canada are reusing virtually all leftover sand from aluminum and ferrous metal casting operations. In FY2010, the three plants recycled a total of 9,400 tons of sand, which is used as mulch and landscaping material, and in concrete products.
No steel scrap from North American manufacturing operations has been going to landfills. In one example of Honda's effort to reduce steel scrap, in FY2009, the Marysville Auto Plant initiated a program to reduce the amount of offal by reducing the size of steel sheets used to stamp new body parts. The program, which significantly reduces the environmental impact of transporting and recycling the steel, is now being adopted by other Honda factories in North America including the Canada, Indiana and East Liberty, Ohio, auto plants, and is being considered by other Honda plants around the world.
In FY2008, Honda Power Equipment in Swepsonville, N.C., initiated a closed-loop system for recycling aluminum scrap from the machining trimming process, melting the scrap into ingots that are recycled into die-cast operations.
The East Liberty, Ohio, auto plant built a recycling bin for bolts, other unused fasteners and parts packaging, enabling the factory to recycle more than 22 tons of steel each year.
Within the past year, all four Honda plants in Ohio completed their initiative to eliminate more than 500 metric tons of cafeteria waste produced annually. The plants joined with other Honda plants in North America in transitioning to washable dishware and to disposing of solid waste through composting, recycling and energy recovery.
The Timmonsville, S.C., powersports plant, which produces all-terrain vehicles, recycles hard plastic foam, sheet plastic foam and other recyclable plastics from incoming parts shipments, diverting more than 130 tons of plastic from landfills each year.
The Marysville and East Liberty, Ohio, plants also recently began washing and reusing thousands of plastic caps each day that are used to protect parts during shipping.
The only two remaining landfill waste streams in all of Honda's North American production activities are: (1) paper, plastic and food waste from associate break rooms and cafeterias at Honda's Mexico automobile and motorcycle plants, where there exists no more environmentally responsible means of disposal; and (2) a byproduct of the paint pretreatment process for aluminum body panels at both the East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio, auto plants, which, due to EPA regulations, is non-recyclable. Honda is working with the EPA to identify an alternative means of disposal.
About Honda's Environmental Initiatives
Honda is a leader in the development of leading-edge technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, including vehicles powered by advanced gasoline engines and natural gas-powered engines, as well as gasoline-electric hybrid, battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cell-electric vehicles. In 2010, Honda was named America's "Greenest Automaker" for the fifth consecutive time by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The award is earned by the company with the lowest combined score of its smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions (primarily CO2) in its U.S. automobile fleet. Further, Honda earned the #1 ranking on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy list of the "Greenest Vehicles" for the 11th year in a row in 2011.

In addition to its ongoing efforts to improve the environmental performance of its products, Honda has worked to reduce the environmental footprint of its manufacturing operations in North America, where the company has the capacity to produce more than three million Honda and Acura products each year, which are comprised of automobiles (including engines and transmissions), all-terrain vehicles, general-purpose engines and power equipment products. These "Green Factory" initiatives include efforts to increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions and waste, and enhance recycling activity.
Through its "Green Purchasing" program, Honda also encourages and supports activities by its more than 600 North American OEM parts and material suppliers to adopt green factory programs.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Executive Programs coming up

Our ever popular executive programs are almost always full several weeks in advance, but here are some of the more popular topics coming up in the fall:

Supply Chain Simulation and Kaizen (5 days in Oct 2011)

Lean Problem Solving and Kaizen (3 days in Dec 2011)

Lean Strategy and Assessment (4 days in Sep 2011)
Although we don't have a specific video on this program, the program is shared with our Blackbelt program and you can see what the first day of the 4-day program looks like below

Japan Lean Tour Executive Program (6 days in Nov 2011)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Extreme application of 5S

Here's an interesting take on how one person applied the concept of 5S to the extreme and turned a tiny apartment into an amazingly useful "modular suite."  This is a great video!  Please take a look:

Quote of the day

"If you just keep doing what you've always done, you know exactly what to expect.  If you do something different for the sake of doing something different, you actually don't know what is going to happen at all. If you think ahead, create a vision, and set goals and make changes to attain those goals, you know that everyday, you will move closer to your vision"

David Chao

So where is LSI going in the next few months?

Many places, as usual!  While we love to stay right here in Vancouver as much as possible, our coaching and lean programs are in demand around the world which means that we do have to travel.

We are soon off to Calgary, Winnipeg, and San Francisco, followed by Toronto and Edmonton this fall.  Later in the fall, our Blackbelts and Executives participants will travel to Japan as part of our Japan Lean Tour, and we have subsequent travels again to Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Toronto.

In late 2011 and early 2012, our Executive programs will take us to the Florida coast, then  by spring time we will be travelling to Japan and Europe (Germany and Italy).  Projects near New York and Singapore are currently being considered as well, though it looks like we don't have to visit China, Thailand, or Belgium in the next several months as we did in the recent past.

 While travels are a bit tough on our body and mind, as long as we are pursuing our vision to "transform the world through lean," we will simply keep moving forward!

What do people say about LSI?

What do people say about LSI?

Our associates say...

"I am very excited to work with LSI . . . .  I am impressed with their dedication to quality and teaching the true Toyota Way."

Dr. Jeffrey Liker, author of Toyota Way 

"I'm excited about our collaboration with LSI, working with the best in the world, to provide a holistic approach and support in your lean transformation." 

Mike Hoseus, author of Toyota Culture

"I have been quite impressed by everyone at Lean Sensei International and their ability to completely support organizations in their lean transformation efforts."

David Meier, author of Toyota Talent 

Our Clients say....

I want to say thank you for what you have done to keep our company’s feet to the fire, and helping us find our path again. You are a brilliant man. I am so glad that we work together. 

Tony Woodruff, President (now retired), Regency Fireplace Products

The eminently qualified David and his LSI team’s “Coach not Consult” philosophy is not only powerfully effective but transformational.

Paul Paris, President, Paris Orthotics

The Lean journey has been very beneficial to our company and LSI has played a critical role in helping to train our people and generate excitement for the program. We value the relationship we have with LSI and welcome the opportunity to enhance it.         
Bill Sauder, Senior Vice President, Moulding & Millwork
At Canadian Pacific, our association with LSI over the past four years has helped us create a high-quality internal lean expertise as well as an extensive expert network with other organizations.
Jeff Adams, General Manager, Lean Production Systems, Canadian Pacific Railway

The start of Nuheat’s Lean journey 4 years ago made sense as it fit the fast paced and deeply caring culture of Nuheat’s employees.  Fast growth and fast change made it necessary for Nuheat to adopt a framework of continuous improvement.  Lean was the framework that allowed us to drive waste out of the organization and grow to be a more productive and proactive company.
John Rose, President, NuHeat Industries Limited

I have been looking for years to find a good LEAN strategic framework, fully aligned and integrated with the business strategy, until I learned the LSI VALUES model. This is the best LEAN implementation guide that I have ever seen.  LSI , thank you so much for that!

Bart Talloen, Vice President, Supply Chain Consumer Products Asia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson

We have used Lean Sensei to effectively develop key lean leaders in our organization. David Chao’s ability to develop strategic lean plans using his global lean experience and dynamic presentations has assisted many manufacturers in Manitoba

Ron Kowslowsky, Vice President, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Manitoba

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

LSI youtube channel

Did you know that LSI's youtube channel has been around since 2006, and more than 61,000 people have viewed our videos over the last several years?

Here's a link to our channel:

LSI youtube

Our top rated/viewed video is the Japan Lean Tour video with over 30,000 views (see below):

LSI Summer Party and Greenbelt Video

Last week's LSI summer party was not only memorable but also "special" - because we also graduated our most recent class of summer Greenbelt.

Our clients and students enjoyed immensely, as you can see from the brief video below:



Source: Toyota press

Toyota Motor Europe (TME) inaugurated its own proving ground today at the TME Technical Centre, in Zaventem, Belgium. The state-of-the-art Zaventem Proving Ground, aimed at strengthening Toyota's European vehicle research and development, took two-and-a-half years to complete. The latest expansion represents an investment of €47 million (£42 million) and demonstrates Toyota's long-term commitment to Europe.

The new proving ground will play a vital role in Toyota's strategy for developing new models for the European small and compact car segments. Together with its accompanying facilities it covers an area of 65,000m² at the technical centre, which measures 187,000m² in total. Toyota employs 770 staff at the technical centre itself, of which 430 are engaged in research and development functions. To date, Toyota has invested €167 million (£149 million) in the Zaventem facility, including the latest investment of €47 million (£42 million) for the purchase and construction of the new proving ground.

Didier Leroy, TME President and CEO said: "The European automotive market is one of the most competitive in the world and our technical centre is already a key facility in Toyota's global R&D organisation. Thanks to the new proving ground, we will make use of our unique positioning and our facilities as a laboratory for innovations in a faster and more efficient way, so that we can develop the right car for our European customers, right here, in the heart of Europe."

As well as a 1.4 kilometre (0.8-mile) oval test track, the multi-purpose proving ground also features a 90-metre diameter skid pad, test roads to monitor noise and harshness and a lane for brake tests. The facilities allow Toyota's engineers to perform a wide variety of tests such as ride comfort, road noise and vibration, vehicle durability, cornering, engine performance and brake performance. Situated close to the main workshops and offices at the technical centre, the proving ground will handle most of the vehicle testing performed on site.

The environmental impact of the construction work was kept to a minimum. About 98 per cent of the excavation and building waste (approximately 36,000 tonnes) created during the project was recycled on-site. The development was integrated into its natural surroundings and a detailed noise study was conducted to ensure there is no disturbance caused to neighbours.

LSI 2011 Summer Party + Vancouver Summer Greenbelt Graduation

Last Friday was in fact an unforgettable day for Lean Sensei's core team! With LSI Summer Party invitees and our 14 Summer Vancouver Greenbelt Graduates, it was an amazing day with lots of sunshine, award-winning catering and not to mention the DOOR PRIZES!

Congratulations on your great accomplishment, Summer Greenbelts! It truly proves that hard work and team work can always make a difference! LSI is extremely proud to recognize both your commitment and dedication. It has been a pleasure working with you for the past few months, and we look forward to seeing you again!

 Greenbelt for Operation Vancouver Summer 2011

Greenbelts enjoying Frisbee golf



    Greenbelt Grad Speakers - Pat (left), Jagdeep (centre) and Janel (right)

LSI members present at the party