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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Japan Lean Tour Blog Day 3 - A post from one of our Japan Lean Tour Participants

Day 3 was busy with lots of new and exciting experiences as we said goodbye to Tokyo and sped off to Nagoya on the Shinkansen ("Bullet Train") for our last 2 days on the Lean tour.

But before we were very efficiently ushered onto our train we spent the morning at the Nissan Yokohama Plant for a 2 hour tour. So far, all the tours have been very memorable....however, I was having a discussion with another tour member and we agreed that we were missing the human experience of Lean in Japan as we hadn't yet talked to an actual employee other than tour guides.

That all changed today. We were very honoured to spend time talking to one of only four technicians at the Yokohama plant that is responsible for the delicate and highly skilled work of assembling, completely by hand (and his hands only), the engines for the Nissan GT-R. Now, I'm not a huge car buff but wow, watching the technician's eyes light up as he passionately told us about his work and how he accomplishes it was inspiring and made even me excited about cars. Unfortunately, the other production line we were to observe was having serious issues and had been completely shut down. However, that just gave us the unique opportunity to see Lean in action as we learned about how they deal with issues and problem solve.

After the approximately 1 1/2 hour Bullet Train ride to Nagoya we ended our day with a trip to the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. The museum was quite large and covered the Toyoda history of the loom right up to the future of the Prius. There was a large section dedicated to the history and practice of Lean as well. Pretty exciting to learn about the roots of Lean while being fully immersed in Japanese culture. It all made for a very unique, special experience today.

Bring on Day 4!

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